After a hesitant beginning, the local branch of International Dolphin Watch has decided to come under the auspices of the ENHG (Abu Dhabi). This makes sense considering the small number of people actively involved in regular dolphin spotting, plus the fact that the majority of these are ENHG members anyway. To administer a separate group parallel with the ENHG, especially with a single specific objective in natural history recording, is a waste of resources since the Group itself caters for such interests and has a readymade vehicle for publication -- the Bulletin. Since Horace Dobbs' visit in April, dolphin recordings have come in fast and furious, and the next Bulletin will summarise the results of the first nine months of the Abu Dhabi Humpback Dolphin Project. The large whale, reported to be 65 feet long, that was washed up on the beach at Jebel Dhanna in April, is due to have a permanent resting place. At first thought to be a Blue, it now seems more likely to be Sei Whale, now that most of its vertebrae have been recovered. The skeleton has been taken to Al Ain, largely due to the diligence of Walid Ai Tekriti and the Al Ain branch of the ENHG, and is to be reconstructed there. The government has taken an interest in the project and the scheme could provide the incentive for a Natural History Museum.
While on the subject of sea creatures, both turtles and dugongs are still being recorded in the Gulf despite the constant threat of oil pollution. An article on recent turtle records is published in this issue, and a 1.5 metre long male dugong was washed up at Dab'iyah, south of Abu Dhabi, on 20th July. Despite quantities of oil on the beach, the specimen did not appear to be oiled. It was buried in the hope of retrieving the skeleton later.
After articles in Bulletins 16, 19 and 21, this issue includes what is probably the last of Mohamed Khan's major contributions on agricultural resources in the UAE. Mohamed left Abu Dhabi over two years ago but will be remembered not only for his articles but also for his talks on local and introduced vegetation, and for his insight into the relatively new science of afforestation in the country.
Once again, we must take a plea for further volunteers to join the Committee. The turnover of personnel in Abu Dhabi has accelerated in recent months and more members are urgently required to fill vacancies. Previous appeals have generally fallen on deaf ears, but if you are genuinely interested in local natural history, then being a Committee member can be a positive and rewarding contribution.