The eighth Annual General Meeting of the ENHG was held on February 6th, attended by 46 people. Many were new or recent members and two of them were elected to the new committee, to give us some fresh blood for 1984. Several older faces remain, however, to give the Group a feeling of continuity; the number of recorders was expanded in 1983 to bring us to a total of eight. The Chairman's Report and a summary of recording activities are included in this edition. Also included is an article by Chris Furley, veterinarian at Al Ain Zoo and Aquarium, whose topic is the subject of a dissertation he presented at the Gulf Exhibition Centre last November. Mike Crumbie, now a regular contributor, gives us another fascinating insight into bird life around Abu Dhabi. After his observations of the Graceful Warbler, Kentish Plover and Sander's Little Tern in Bulletin 21, he now gives us a more general article on bird recordings from one observation locality, covering one month last autumn. We are also indebted to the "Emirates Magazine", published by the UAE Embassy in London, for an interesting account of the present status of the palm in the country.
A very pleasing recent development was the law banning most categories of hunting in the UAE. This took effect on January 19th and is reprinted here in both English and Arabic. We would be most interested to know why the wryneck of all birds is not immune. This law follows a period of several years during which the Government has been encouraging the return of wildlife to local habitats by a process of entreaty and desert patrols. Concern for the environment is definitely increasing in official circles. Last year the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah passed a law to protect its sites of historic. Whether either of these recent laws can be really effective of course depends on the public's attitude and willingness to co-operate and this applies as much to expatriates as nationals.
At least there is now a realization that over-hunting in the past has led to the virtual extinction of some species. Gazelles have now been released into fenced afforested areas in recent years. Perhaps the time is not far off when groups of animals can be released into selected areas with a fair chance of survival, as has been demonstrated to be feasible with the Arabian Oryx in Oman.