UAE: Back in the living desert

From January 22nd to 29th 2024, as a journalist, I accompanied a trip to the Dubai Desert organised by Biosphere Expeditions. Participants engage as citizen scientists for mammals, birds and other animals. Here is my report for

Post author

Ralf Bürglin


  • Jon Hall

    Thanks Ralf – looks like a fun trip. I was interested to see that the Biosphere handbook listed Arabian Jird but the survey only found Sundevall’s in the DDCR. Any idea why? Though I met Tamer Khafaga when I was there – he was great – and he said that they were not all that sure about the jird’s. I don’t remember why I put the one I caught down as Arabian but was pretty sure about it I recall.

  • Ralf Bürglin

    Thank you Jon. I don’t know why one team noted Arabian Jird and the other Sundevall’s. It made me curious too. That’s why I noted both. There could be various reasons. In general one has to say that there is a rapid development in terms of species designation. Lots of papers get published, and many are contradicting. And often data is missing. Look at the entry for the Arabian Jird in HMW: “Type-specimen measurements only. No specific data available for body weight.” I think we need to accept that we are still in the early stages of discovering our species.


Leave a Reply