Mountain World Activity The UAE Mountains & Their Animals

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Mountain World Activitythe UAE Mountains& their Animals

Mountain World ActivityThe UAE Mountains& their AnimalsIn this activity your students will be looking into the animals that live in themountain regions of the UAE, using the environment around Jebel Hefeetnear Al Ain as an example. There are many animals that call this mountainhome, and a lot of them are endangered or at risk. Your students will find outmore about these animals and what they can do to help.In this activity you and your students will: Learn about the mountain regions of the UAE and the animals that live there. Find out which animals are endangered and what your students can do to help. Create a poster or collage to increase awareness of these animals and conservation efforts around them. Create a card game they can use to encourage other students to find out more about the animals they’velearned about.ObjectivesCarrying out this activity will help students learn about the unique animals that call the mountains of the UAEhome. They will also learn about some of the threats facing these animals, and what conservation efforts arein progress to help save them.You can also ask your class to create a collage of mountain regions featuring the animals they’ve learnedabout, a poster to raise awareness of conservation efforts, and a playable card game. These will allowyour students to get creative and inventive, test their knowledge of the animals they’ve learned about, andencourage them to spread the knowledge they’ve learned with their peers, parents and guardians.What do I need to make it work?You do not need anything special for the first part of this activity (which can be done in the classroom), justan internet connection to carry out some background reading.To create the collages and posters, you will need access to craft materials, coloured paper and pens. Youmay also need access to a printer. To create the card game, you will need thin cardboard and access to acomputer and printer.1Mountains and Animals

Mountain World ActivityWhat things will my students create? A collage or poster. These would look great displayed in the school or youth group building! A card game. We recommend each child creating one or two cards, but you can do more if you have time.The mountains of the UAELet’s begin at the top! Firstly, we need to find out what mountains are, andwhere in the UAE you can find them.What is a mountain? First, ask your students if they know what a mountain is. Ask them to describe it, and ask if anyone hasvisited any mountains. What was it like? What could they see? What did they feel? Did they notice anyanimals?There are lots of different definitions of what a mountain is but the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)defines a ‘mountainous environment’ as an area that includes any one of the following: elevation (or height) of at least 2,500m elevation of 1,500m with a slope greater than 2 degrees elevation of 1,000m with a slope greater than 5 degrees elevation of at least 300m with a 300m elevation range within 7km.This can be a little tricky to get your head around! In easier to understand terms you can think of mountainsas areas of rocky land that rise about the land surrounding them, often reaching to a peak. Their often craggyshapes are caused by erosion, where wind and water wears away some of the rock over thousands of years.Applying the UNEP definition, 24% of the Earth’s land is defined as mountainous so there are a lot more thanyou think!You can find out more information on mountains using the links below: Mountains on Wikipedia: Mountain formation on the BBC: are the mountains in the UAE?The mountainous region we’ll be studying as an example in this activity is Jebel Hafeet, near Al Ain, in theeast of Abu Dhabi (chosen as our example as it is one of the most accessible mountain areas in the UAE). Theemirate of Fujairah is almost entirely mountainous, being positioned on the Al Hajar mountain range whichstretches down around 50-100km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast through the UAE into northeasternOman.2Mountains and Animals

Mountain World ActivityJebel Hafeet: Near Al Ain lies Jebel Hafeet, a stunning mountain that rises 1,240m high, and is the highest peakin Abu Dhabi, and the second highest in the United Arab Emirates. The mountain straddles the border withOman, and there is a long road that snakes its way up most of the long slopes from Al Ain towards the peak. There are some great pictures of the spectacular winding road here: Maps image showing the location of Jebel HafeetA Dwarf Palm. Photo provided courtesy of the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabiarchives.Environment: Like most of the UAE, the mountainous regions are hot and dry with very little rainfall. Theground is rocky, and at first sight it might not look like much grows there. However, look closer and you’ll spotplants like the Dwarf Palm, which is unique to this area.This is a satellite image of Jebel Hafeet taken from above. Ask your students to think about why it might have the regular lines criss-crossing it? What might havecaused them? The answer is erosion by water, which drains down the side of the mountain, graduallywearing channels into the rock, which over thousands and thousands of years form valleys and gulleys.Many of these only contain water after rainy periods – these dry valleys are called wadis.3Mountains and Animals

Mountain World ActivityWhat animals live in the mountains?The mountains provide a habitat which is quite different from most of theUAE and are home to some of the rarest and most threatened animals in theUAE. Although large mammals are pretty rare, there have been several wildlifesurveys of Jebel Hafeet, and researchers have found over 320 species ofinvertebrates (like beetles, scorpions, butterflies and spiders), over 120 speciesof birds (with 40 species living and breeding there) and 177 species of plant. Optional: If needed, has a great resource to help explain to your students what an endangeredspecies is and how it might have become endangered that you could use before discussing theseanimals: of the birds, animals and reptiles that make the mountains of the UAE their home include:Arabian Tahr by Xavier Eithaker. Photo provided courtesy of the EnvironmentAgency of Abu Dhabi archives. Further images of wild Arabian tahr can be foundon the website at vulture – photo provided courtesy of the Environment Agency of AbuDhabi archives.The Arabian Tahr – The Arabian Tahr is a relativeof the wild goat. This is one of the most endangeredanimals in the UAE, with the entire global populationof this beautiful animal living in the northernmountains of the UAE and Oman. This is the onlyendemic – meaning the species naturally occurshere, rather than having travelled or moved here –mammal, and it is in danger because of hunting andhabitat loss.Egyptian Vulture – Jebel Hafeet is the only locationin Abu Dhabi where a colony of these birds exists.The species is globally threatened, and listed asEndangered in the IUCN Red List for birds.4Mountains and Animals

Mountain World ActivityIf you have a picture of a Persianhorned viper that we can use in thisresource we would love to hear aboutit, otherwise you can findsome pictures here on partridge By Greg Schechter from San Francisco, USA (Sand partridge) [CCBY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia horned viper – This rare reptile lives inmountainous regions. It can only be found on JebelHafeet and in the mountains of Oman above 600maltitude.Sand partridge – This is a gamebird that is adaptedto live in dry, mountainous environments. Althoughit can fly small distances, if disturbed it prefers to runaway!Arabian mountain gazelle (Gazella gazelle cora) in the Dubai DesertConservation Area, UAE. By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography,sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons leopard in the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, SharjahBy ( ןומכח סומע Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BYSA-3.0 ( or FAL], via WikimediaCommons mountain gazelle – Fewer than 15,000mountain gazelles are left within their natural range(Palestine, Israel, the Golan Heights, Turkey andacross the Arabian Peninsula). More than 10,000 ofthese are of the Arabian mountain gazelle subspecies.Mountain gazelles can reach running speeds up to 80km/h (50 mph).Arabian leopard – Incredibly rare, incredibly hardto find, the Arabian leopard is the smallest breed ofleopard in the world. Because of hunting and loss ofhabitat, there may be fewer than 250 adult Arabianleopards left in the wild and it may already be extinctin the wild in the UAE. The last time an Arabianleopard was spotted in the UAE was in 1976 in JebelHafeet ( Optional: Ask your pupils to research one of the animals, birds or reptiles above, and record 5 facts aboutthe animal, which could include where they live, what they eat, what hunts them, why they are at risk andany conservation efforts that are being made to save them. You may want to find some additional animals to talk about, and there is a great list on UAE interact( that links out to more information on each animal.5Mountains and Animals

Mountain World ActivityWhat is being done to help these endangered animals?It’s very important to know first of all how many endangered animals there are and where they live, that wayyou can monitor the population to see if it grows or shrinks, and protect the areas they live.There are also captive breeding programs, where animals in zoos are bred to produce new young animals,which can be released back into the mountains to boost the wild population.Finally, education and information is very important. By ensuring everyone knows why these animals areimportant, they are less likely to hunt and kill them, and more likely to help save them. Optional: Ask your class to do a questionnaire asking their parents or guardians, brothers and sisters,friends and neighbours; which of these endangered species they know about, and whether they knewthey were endangered. You can compare the results in class.What else can we do?You can also find out more about which animals are endangered by visiting IUCN Red List website ( IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This lists all the plants, animalsand insects, both on land and sea, that are endangered around the world. This list is updated every year.You can also visit the Al Ain Zoo ( to find out more about the wildlife of the area and whatconservation is happening. The Zoo takes part in conservation programs to help protect wild populations ofimportant animals.Here are some more links you may find helpful: has lots of information on the animals discussed here, and lots of great pictures. Here is a linkdirect to the ‘Mountains and Wadis’ part of their excellent ‘Jewels of the UAE’ section: UAE Interact: Endangered species in Abu Dhabi: Endangered animals in Abu Dhabi, Time Out Abu Dhabi: News story in the Khaleej Times about Jebel Hafeet being monitored by the Environment Agency of AbuDhabi: News story on Gulf News about the biodiversity of Jebel Hafeet: News story on Gulf News about the unique insects found in the wadis of Jebel Hafeet: The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund gives grants to species conservation efforts in theUAE and around the world. It also has some great case studies showing the work that people have beendoing. Find out more here: and Animals

Mountain World ActivityCreate a collage and/or posterto showcase the mountains, animalsand why we should conserve them.Now we’ve learned about the mountains, the animals that live there and thethreats that face them, we can put this into action!Activity 1: Create a collageA collage is a fun, creative way of recreating the mountain environment and the animals that live there, whichhelps reinforce what your students have learned, and also lets other students know about these amazingareas.Students can produce small individual collages, but we like the idea of one big eye-catching collage that allyour students contribute to. This can be placed somewhere visible to the whole school like an entrance hall,so more people will see it and learn about the mountain animals of the UAE.The first step is to create a mountain background, which you can do using large pieces of orange, yellow andbrown paper or card. Don’t forget to add lots of big and little rocks, wadis, peaks and ledges for the animalsto live on.The second step is to create the animals. You can either ask your class to pick an animal and draw it, or useimages of the animals online to create outlines they can colour in.Once your animals are ready, you can add them to the mountain background you have created. We think it’salso a good idea to add a little bit of information next to each animal, so everyone knows its name, where itlikes to live, and how endangered it is.Activity 2: Awareness posterThe endangered animals of the UAE mountain regions face many problems, and a lot of these are caused bypeople hunting and loss of habitat. There are also conservation programs to try and save them.This activity will see your students producing awareness posters to help protect these animals. The posterscould be a call for people to stop hunting animals, or a call to encourage people to join a conservation program. Ask your students what kind of information would be good to have on a poster. If you