Nature Going Berserk...

I read a newspaper, reporting that researchers from UAE University in Al Ain spotted nine cases of young fledgling cormorants (seabirds) devouring their own baby birds. Experts believe, over-fishing has transformed cormorants into cannibals. Scientists think that due to over-fishing and general depletion of fish stocks in the Arabian Gulf diminishing to low levels, the normally quiet, calm seabirds are devouring their young ones. Scientist from UAE University in Al Ain witnessed two cormorants grabbing young chicks to eat – and swallowed them whole. An expedition had gone to Siniya Island in Umm Al Quwain, the largest cormorant colony in the UAE. Leading researcher of the team, Sabir Ben Muzaffar, from UAE University’s biology department explained, “It could be starvation… we are very excited to have seen this, but will need to study it more to find out for sure”. 7 DAYS newspaper of Wednesday, September 5, 2012 gave this news.

It is reassuring to learn: if over-fishing is part of the problem, help may be coming. Government founded scientists at Umm Al Quwain Research Centre are putting in sincere efforts to replenish Umm Al Quwain waters, with expansive programmes to restock zooplankton, on which so many fish species depend.

Dr. Ebrahim Al Jamali, director of the Umm Al Quwain Marine Centre, also has a government-funded programme to release 10 million fish a year back into the sea – a way of compensating the depleting fish stock in the sea waters.

Geeta Chhabra

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