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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

UAE

Species of porcupine seen for first time in the Fujairah 

Indian crested variety recorded by camera traps at Wadi Wurayah national park in Fujairah
A species of porcupine has been discovered in the UAE for the first time, in Fujairah. Courtesy: Fujairah Municipality 

An Indian crested porcupine, which was first reported as having been discovered in the UAE last month, has now been spotted in Fujairah.

The Indian crested porcupine, Hystrix Indica, is a large rodent with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, to protect it against predators. It is commonly found throughout south-west and central Asia and in parts of the Middle East.

The species is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as at "least concern" from extinction, but because this is one of the few times it has been recorded in the UAE it could be listed as "threatened" on a country level.

The Indian crested porcupine was discovered at about 600 kilometres beyond its known range, by camera traps placed at the park.

The discovery was followed by a social survey in villages surrounding the park, with sightings of the porcupine confirmed in 11 locations.

The Indian porcupine has a mostly herbivorous diet, explaining their presence, as the park is surrounded by farms.

The director general of Fujairah Municipality, Mohammed Al Afkham, said the discovery was significant.

Fujairah Municipality was the first in the country to adopt a systematic monitoring approach using camera traps.

The network of 100 traps is maintained by park rangers.

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