A beautifully written article by our own Noor Aqaileh 

Al-Azraq Wetland Reserve … A Peaceful Melancholy

 

 

At the end of a one hour drive in the barren Eastern desert of Jordan comes the most unexpected surprise, a radiant ‘blue’ gem.

A captivating oasis and sanctuary for migrating birds, Al-Azraq Wetland Reserve was established in 1978.

This self-sustaining oasis provided shelter for camel caravans and pilgrims from Arabia since the beginning of time. It was often referred to as a small piece of Africa as it was a home to elephants, cheetahs, lions and hippos. It was a haven for over 347,000 species of birds.

Sadly, however, what used to be a treasure from Mother Nature has been, yet again, destroyed by the overwhelming demands of mankind.

In 1992, the reserve reached a stage of ecological collapse. In the 1980s, the alarmingly increasing population number led to the stupendous pumping of water from Al- Azraq basin. Combining that with the numerous agricultural illegal water wells caused the reserve to eventually dry up.

The Royal Society for Conservation of Nature (RSCN) has been fighting restlessly since 1994 to restore the reserve to its original glory. So far their efforts were only able to maintain 10% of the reserve’s original size. A rescue effort for the endangered killifish species was also established by the RSCN. Thankfully it was successful.

Unfortunately, the reserve has reached a stage of no return. Our disregard for the balance of nature led to this critical outcome. Are there other victims? The answer is yes. The Dead Sea has also been decreasing at a shocking rate of 1M each year. A lesson should be learned from the Al-Azraq disaster and action should be taken as soon as possible.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Rasha Nassar

 

Al-Azraq Wetland Reserve