2010-2011 Talks

June 2011 Programme 

Dr. Mohammad Albeldawi, Head of Environment, Ras Laffan Industrial City
Ras Laffan Sustainable Development and Environmental Initiatives
The Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLC) environmental protection strategies are driven by the vision to be the world’s leading industrial city dedicated to the business of natural gas. This requires creating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable business climate to support natural gas based industries and associated stakeholders. The presentation will provide an overview of the RLC Master Plan Development process with emphasize on the environmental impact assessment process and environmental mitigation and compensation projects that were planned and achieved.
Dr. Mohammad Albeldawi Profile

Dr. Albeldawi received his B.Sc. (Civil Engineering) from Mosul University, Iraq, and M. Sc. (Environmental Engineering) from Baghdad University, Iraq in 1978. He received his Ph.D. (Environmental Engineering System) from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Albeldawi has over 30 years of experience in teaching, research and environmental engineering and management system services to oil and gas industries. He worked with the Water Technology International(Canada). One of his achievements during his employment is the development of protocol criteria for the Environmental Technology Verification program He worked for Qatargas Company at the capacity of Senior Environmental Engineer for more than six years. He is currently working with Qatar Petroleum in Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLC) at the capacity of Head of Environmental Engineer, managing the environmental engineering department since 2005. In addition to his responsibilities Dr. Albeldawi is member of Greenhouse Gas working group, Global gas flaring reduction committee, the RLC focal point with both Qatar Foundation (National Research Priorities), Ministry of Environment, and Qatar National Food Security Program. HSE Department focal point for both port reception facility and hazardous waste management study projects. He is the EMS (ISO 14001) management representative. Dr. Albeldawi’s also leading the legal requirements of environmental compensation, monitoring and reporting implementation program of RLC port expansion project.



May 2011 Programme 
Speaker: Steff Gaulter, Senior Weather Presenter, Al Jazeera English.

Topic: Weather and Forecasting
Weather affects all of us, from the farmer to the office worker. No one is immune from it and nothing can protect us from severe events like Hurricane Katrina. This talk will explain what drives our weather and the limitations of trying to forecast it. We’ll look at what causes the Indian Monsoon and Tropical Storms and why last winter was so cold across Europe and the North America.  We’ll explore what can be done to modify the weather and what cannot. How successful is cloud-seeding and does anyone actually use it?
 

Speaker bio: Steff Gaulter graduated in Natural Science (Physics) from Cambridge University before joining the UK Met Office.  There she trained in meteorology, becoming the first ever person to be awarded a distinction in the final forecasting exam. Whilst at the Met Office, Steff was sent on secondment to the BBC where she began her presenting career. She has since presented the weather on Sky News, Sky Sports, Channel Five, and Sky Sports News and most recently at Al Jazeera English, where Steff has been the Senior Weather Presenter since its launch in 2006.  


April 2011 Programme

Speaker: Rob Ross, Senior GIS Geoscientist, Qatar Petroleum
 
Title of presentation: 4D Visualisation:Bringing Qatar’s Surface Geological Natural History to Life
 
Come along and collect your surface geology map of Qatar while we go on a brief journey in 3D and in time over Qatar’s dynamic surface geology. Learn how we integrate time-lapse satellite imagery, historical 1947 photos, radio-carbon age dating, microscopy, volumetric calculations, rock samples, and very accurate surface height elevations to model and visualise Qatar’s recent surface geology, historical sea-level changes and diverse surface processes.  Integration and analyses of these disparate data sources reveals an elevated terrace, approximately two meters above present day sea level, dating between 4000 to 6000 years before present.  A combination of satellite imagery, a digital elevation model and age-dating indicate the presence of previously undocumented events in the sea level history of Qatar. Qatar’s growing oil and gas industry has given rise to an unprecedented boom in building commercial and industrial infrastructure.  Planning for growth with minimal environmental impact relies on an understanding of the existing ecological baseline.  Detailed knowledge of Qatar’s surface and near-surface geology is key to a better understanding in geotechnical, geophysical and geological work and in avoiding geological construction hazards (such as karst and sinkholes) present in the near-surface of Qatar.
Learn what today’s surface geological processes tell us about Qatar’s ancient oil and gas reservoirs. We will see Qatar as it was 5,000, 17,000, 30,000 and 150 million years ago and determine when we could last ramble from Qatar to Bahrain.
Rob graduated from the UK’s foremost earth science school at the University of East Anglia (UK) with a BSc majoring in geophysics and undertook post-graduate studies at the University of NSW (Australia) in the analysis of remotely sensed satellite imagery.


He has worked as a pioneering geophysicist in oil exploration in Oman for PDO and Shell. Later, in conjunction with Australian research organization CSIRO, Rob implemented the first commercial satellite image processing system to help locate Australia’s prospective mining exploration areas. During the 1980s, Rob managed geosciences graphics-related projects with BP Exploration (UK) and Shell He joined Qatar Petroleum in 1993 at the new dawn of oil exploration in Qatar to project manage Qatar’s geophysical seismic and gravity data held world-wide.  Currently, Rob manages Qatar Petroleum’s geotechnical borehole project; the important aim being to make Qatar’s legacy geotechnical borehole data easily accessible for spatial analysis. Rob also works with other geoscientists from Qatar Petroleum and their joint venture partner oil majors on geological research and geophysical spatial analysis projects.
Rob is an Active Member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists), a member of European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) and a committee member of the Qatar Geological Society (QGS).


March 2011 Programme

Dr Mark Beech
Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Archaeology University of York
Cultural Landscapes Manager, Historic Environment Department
Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH)
 
"Late Miocene fossils from Abu Dhabi's Western Region"

The story behind the Yale University and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage Baynunah fossil project, which is helping to reconstruct the environment and the animals and plants which lived in Abu Dhabi's western region between 6 to 8 million years ago. Examples of some of the important fossils discovered will be presented, as well as information about some of the fossil animal trackways which are currently being studi

 
Click here for Dr Beech's CV

 
 
 

A Summary of the Lecture in March by Dr Mark Beech

Fran Gillespie

First published in Gulf Times on 4 March 2011.

Not so long ago – in geological terms that is – the lands bordering the western coast of what is now the Arabian Gulf were watered by a network of reed-fringed  rivers, up to 40 metres in width, amid a lush, forested landscape. It was an age not only of plants, but above all of mammals. Bizarre-looking ancestors of modern elephants and giraffes wandered through the forests, browsing on the rich vegetation. Not all were peaceful herbivores: giant sabre-toothed cats crouched amid the bushes and acacia-type trees, watching for their chance to spring out upon an unsuspecting antelope or a primitive three-toed horse. Crocodiles lurked in the rivers, waiting for the animals coming to drink

Dr Mark Beech, Cultural Landscapes Manager in the Historic Environment Department at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, was in Doha at the invitation of the Qatar Natural History Group to give a talk on the latest prehistoric findings by himself and his colleagues.


Based in Abu Dhabi for the last sixteen years, archaeologist Dr Beech worked first of all on the  island of Sir Bani Yas where so many remarkable discoveries have been made, including an early Nestorian monastery and church. But in recent years he has been involved in a project recording the extraordinarily rich fossil remains of the Late Miocene period of 6-8 million years ago. The area where finds are being made is known as the Baynunah Formation, stretching along an area roughly parallel to the present coast of the UAE.

Fossil remains range from the largest ever found anywhere in the Arabian peninsula – an elephant tusk measuring an impressive 2.5 metres in length – down to the tiny tooth of a cane rat, hardly bigger than a grain of rice. The speaker was at pains to dispel any images the audience might hold of fossil-hunters casually strolling around the desert locating and digging up spectacular specimens. Much of the work, he said, involved hours of patiently fine-sieving gravel and sand, looking for such small remains as teeth. Remains of larger fossils are so fragile that they cannot be excavated in the normal way. Instead, they are first covered in fine sand, then wrapped in wet plaster bandages which harden to form a rigid case. Only then can they be carefully lifted from the ground and conveyed to a laboratory to await years of research.

Intriguingly, three species of elephants roamed the landscape of the Miocene UAE. One, Stegotetrabelodon syrticus, had four tusks adapted to forking out vegetation from the upper branches of trees – 'Rather like chopsticks,' commented the speaker. Another species had tusks apparently more adapted to browsing on lower vegetation. In this way each species had its own niche feeding zone, and avoided competition. The archaeologists and palaeontologists rely for many of the discoveries on the sharp eyes of bedouin rangers, who are trained what to look for and instructed to report anything they see without disturbing it. A system of financial rewards for exceptional finds helps to fuel the enthusiasm of the rangers! A recent very rare discovery was the pelvis of an ostrich, ancestor of the Arabian ostrich which only became extinct in the last century, once hunters had access to vehicles and guns.

'We never find complete skeletons,' said the speaker, 'because the dead animals were usually washed down in rivers and the bones were scattered. Or carnivores gnawing the remains contributed to the disturbance. We use palaeomagnetic dating to try and determine the age of the fossils. Over many millions of years the field of polarity changes. When samples of rock from the area surrounding the fossils are cut the position of magnetic north is recorded, and this assists in dating.'

Research into the fossil terrain of the UAE began some 50 years ago, said Dr Beech, and new discoveries constantly change the image of that ancient landscape. Until very recently the accepted picture was of asavannah-type landscape watered by rivers, but discoveries of large networks of tree roots and branches, and the teeth of squirrels which inhabited the trees, make it clear that there was more forest than was originally believed.

As in Qatar, archaeologists and researchers into the past of the UAE have to compete with the demands of developers. However, strenuous efforts are being made to preserve the most vulnerable of the prehistoric landscapes. Sites that are under threat are fenced off against bulldozing and damage by vehicles, said Dr Beech. These include prehistoric animal tracks, one of which is the longest set of elephant tracks in the world. 'The Baynunah Formation is now on the Tentative List for nomination as a World Heritage Site, he commented, 'and this makes developers more cautious.'

Dr Beech's visit to Qatar was sponsored by the Rayyan Mineral Water Company.



February 2011 Programme

Speaker: Mark Strickson     

Title: Filming Qatar's Wildlife. 
Mark talked about natural history filming and show some selections from his recent films shot in Qatar.  He has kindly left copies of some of his films for our library, which will be avialable for lending to members for their personal viewing. 
Speaker Profile: Mark specialises in producing natural history films but has also made engineering, history and even cookery programmes!  Some of you may also remember him for his acting role as the character of Visor Turlough on the cult television series Doctor Who.
His clients have included National Geographic, the BBC, ITV, C4, C5, the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Travel, ZDF and Canal +.  He has been a senior producer for Granada TV's wildlife department and within National Geographic.  His work ranges from directing the first films with Australian presenter Steve Irwin to producing award winning animal behaviour documentaries.  While Mark was Head of Programmes at the world-famous producer Oxford Scientific Films, the company won both an Emmy and two Wildscreen Golden Panda Awards.  Mark currently lives in New Zealand, where until recently he worked for National Geographic.  He now  spends a lot of time in Qatar where he is producing and directing a raft of programmes for the Qatar National Day Committee.
 

A sneak peek at stunning films on Qatar’s wildlife
Publish Date: Friday,4 February, 2011

By Fran Gillespie/Doha

 

Sand skink. PICTURE: Drew Gardner

Film director Mark Strickson had the audience either laughing or gasping in horror at his stories of his adventures while making documentaries on wildlife. Addressing a packed audience of Qatar Natural History Group members at its monthly meeting on Wednesday evening, Strickson showed some enthralling footage from the series of Qatar wildlife films he is currently making for the National Day Committee.

Strickson began his career as a film and TV actor, including a role in the BBC cult TV series Dr Who, before emigrating to Australia where he took a degree in zoology and turned to making wildlife documentaries for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, BBC and Channel 4, including The Ten Most Poisonous Snakes in the World.

For much of the past two years he has been based in Qatar and has made a full-length film on birdlife and shorter films on the Lesser jerboa, the Oryx, Sand skinks and marine life.

Appropriately it was the jerboa that was chosen as the mascot for the AFC Asian Cup last month. In 2011 there are plans to make five more films, including one on the big Spiny-tailed Agama lizards usually known by their Arabic name dhub.

The Lesser jerboa, a tiny rodent with a long tufted tail often known as a ‘kangaroo mouse’ because of its metre-long leaps, was difficult to film because of its shy nocturnal habits and its speed: “They cover as much as 10km a night in search of food,” said the speaker. “To film this little animal,” he continued, “we constructed a huge enclosed set and put together two lines of rocks with a channel in between them and a camera at each end.  When released the jerboa headed down the channel and that’s how we got the unique footage – no one has previously filmed it making its spectacular leaps.” 

He explained that they used several animals but never filmed an individual for more than five minutes at a time, to minimise stress. 

It was the film crew, however, who suffered from stress and heat exhaustion as the film was made in July in temperatures of well over 50 degrees C! 

Another desert film, and one of which Strickson is particularly proud, is a superb footage of rolling sand dunes in the south of the peninsula and the intriguing little lizards which inhabit them, the Sand skinks, also dubbed ‘Porcelain skinks’ for their beautifully marked shining bodies or ‘Sand fish’ for their habit of diving into the sand at the first hint of danger and ‘swimming’ beneath the surface.

The footage included a unique shot of a skink actually locating and nabbing its prey – a grub or insect – in what appears the be the most barren and sterile terrain imaginable.

Strickson quoted the greatest of all wildlife documentary film makers, Sir David Attenborough, who once remarked of his long series of highly acclaimed films, “If people don’t see nature how can they care for it.”  This, he said, is the feeling here too and the reason why the National Day Committee has commissioned these films: to make the people of Qatar more aware of the unique beauty of their landscape and the astonishing diversity of the animals which inhabit it.

Only then, he said, can people be expected to truly care about and take action to protect Qatar’s fragile environment.

 

January 2011 Programme

 
Name: Dr Olga Nefedova
 
Position: Director, The Orientalist Museum, Doha
 
Title of Presentation: A Journey into the World of the Ottomans
 
Dr Nefedova has kindly permitted us to post a copy of her presentation.  Please
click here to view it. 
 
Biog details: Dr Olga Nefedova is an art historian specialising in the Orientalist art movement. She received her PhD from the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow. She has worked for several years with private and government collections in the Middle East and the Gulf countries. Her recent projects include the exhibition A Journey into the World of the Ottomans by the Orientalist Museum, currently on show in the termporary exhibition gallery of the Museum of Islamic Art, and the book of the same name which accompanies it.
 
During her presentation Dr Olga spoke about the paintings in this wonderful exhibition, the painters themselves and what lay behind the fascination with the Orient by European artists and writers.
 
The exhibition A Journey into the World of the Ottomans closed on 24 January 2011.
 
A Summary of the Lecture in January by Olga Nefedova


Dr Olga Nefedova Director of the Orientalist Museum, Doha gave a talk to QNHG members at our January meeting entitled “A Journey into the World of the Ottomans”, covering the exhibit which she curated of the same name recently on show at the Museum of Islamic Art.  During her presentation Dr Olga spoke about the paintings in this wonderful exhibition, how the exhibit was created, the painters themselves and what lay behind the fascination with the Orient by European artists and writers.  The exhibit included a series of oil paintings by Jean-Baptiste Vanmour which were on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The paintings covered a wide range of Ottoman life and history, panoramas of Old Istanbul and portraits of the Ottoman court. There was also a collection of more recent figurative images by a contemporary Orientalist artist and a number of photographs.  Although the exhibit has now closed, the catalog and accompanying book is still available at the MIA bookstore and we will try to acquire copies for our QNHG library.



December 2010 Programme  
Professor Dionisius A. Agius, the Al Qasimi Professor of Arabic Studies and Islamic Material Culture at the University of Exeter (PhD 1984, University of Toronto)  gave a presentation entitled the Classic Ships of Islam, the summary of 10 years of research. The talk focussed on how he did the research for his recent book.

Photo of Professor Dionisius A. Agius

In his research Professor Agius shows that objects are active agents helping to shape people the way they are. It is this people-object-world combination that is integral to the human mind and language. The key question to his study is why objects are called the way they are? His search into the use of Arabic and Materail Culture is an inquiry into communities, social, technical, political and religious conditions. It is about the identity of a people, their language and culture, demonstrating their specialised skills and artistic imagination to produce objects of use within their community and the outside world. With this in mind his research for the past thirty years has been devoted to the study of ship-types of the Arab Mediterranean and Arabian Indian Ocean, the language of the coastal and seafaring communities, ship-building, navigational techniques and winds and currents; in addition, his study entails a great deal of archival work, pictorial evidence and maps.

Professor Agius is best known for his work on Islamic material culture, maritime ethnography and Arabic language and linguistics. He is particularly interested in the history and provenance of tradtional wooden vessels and their construction, the crew, folklore history, resources and trade in the Western Indian Ocean. In the past he has conducted ethnographical fieldwork among seafaring communities on the coasts of the Arabian Gulf States and the Dhofar region of Oman as part of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (1996 to 1998). Similar fieldwork has been conducted on the Egyptian and Sudanese Red Sea littoral (2001-2004) and the Saudi coast (2007). As principal investigator of an Arts & Humanities Research Council project (2002-2005) he led a team working on paper fragments and coinage (12th–15th c) at Quseir al-Qadim on the Egyptian Red Sea coast. He has also researched on the Arabic of Islamic Sicily and Malta and varied topics in Arabic linguistics. He is general editor and founder of Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean (est. 1988). He presently holds a major grant (2008-2011) funded by the Golden Web Foundation for a project entitled MARES: Maritime Ethnography of the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea: People, Trade and Pilgrimage and is Director and Principal Investigator of the project 

 

 


November 2010 Programme 

Was a talk on Dragonflies and Damselflies in the State of Qatar by Michael Grunwell a member of the QNHG and the Qatar Bird Club.  Michael took us through all the species of Onondata in Qatar including 2 types of Damselflies and 10 types of Dragonflies, with pictures and descriptions of most.  Members were encouraged to go out on their own and look for these and possibly other species not  yet sighted in Qatar. Click on the link above to go to his paper on the subject published in the QNHG Journal.
 

 
Zoologist gives talk on Qatar dragonflies
Publish Date: Monday,8 November, 2010, at 01:43 AM Doha Time
Oasis Bluetail damselflies mating
 
By Fran Gillespie/Doha
 
The audience at the November meeting of the Qatar Natural History Group were given an illustrated account of every aspect of a dragonfly’s life and habits by zoologist Michael Grunwell.
He has studied dragonflies in many countries and is now concentrating on those of Qatar. Grunwell’s enthusiasm is such that he once drove 250 miles from London to the far west of Britain for a sighting of a single rare specimen, only to find it had been eaten by a bird shortly before he arrived!
Dragonflies and their relatives the damselflies both belong to an order of insects known as Odonata. They are easy to tell apart, said Grunwell – dragonflies perch with their wings held out at right angles to their body and damselflies usually fold up their wings along the line of the body.
Generally, damselflies are smaller and more slender than dragonflies, and their flight is weaker and more fluttery.
There are around 5000 members of the order Odonata worldwide. In Qatar, a dry, desert land, there are only 10 species of dragonfly and two of damselfly recorded to date, although Grunwell hopes to identify more.
Species of dragonfly in Qatar vary greatly in their habits – some stay around the area where they emerged as adult insects, others migrate huge distances. In fact some of the dragonflies in Qatar, he said, have flown here from other countries.
All members of the order Odonata must have fresh water in which to lay their eggs and go through their larval form before the larva crawls up a reed out of the water and splits open as the adult dragonfly or damselfly emerges. During the last 60 years, since the beginning of the oil era, lagoons and lakes of effluent water have been created in various part of the peninsula, attracting more species of dragonfly to Qatar.
A crucial aid to identification of species of dragonfly, said the speaker, is a small rectangular ‘window’ on the outer edge of the wing, known as a pterostigma.
Often it is pigmented, and no two species have the same shape or colour. Entomologists can quickly identify an insect from its pterostigma, and also by counting the segments of the body.
Males and females of the same species are often very differently coloured. The purpose of the pterostigma is not fully understood, but possibly dragonflies themselves use it for identification reasons.
Dragonflies are fierce and fast-moving hunters, constantly zipping back and forth over their territory, catching smaller insects in their powerful jaws and eating them on the wing.
The dragonflies and damselflies of Qatar have colourful and exotic common names: Oasis Bluetail, Lesser Emperor, Red-veined Darter, Violet Dropwing and Oriental Scarlet are among the local species.
Much remains to be learnt about the Odonata of Qatar, said Michael Grunwell, and he urged his listeners to look out for any unusual species and to contact him if they think they have spotted one.


 

  • October 2010 Programme  

    We resumed our activities on Wednesday 6th October, with our first talk. As usual for our first meeting of the season,  we gather before the meeting for refreshments and socialization, so members were urged to come a bit early.
     
    Our speaker was Dr Nobuyuki ("Nobby") Yamaguchi of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the University of Qatar and a member of the QNHG.  He will talk about the Life of the Desert Hedgehog.  Since arriving in Doha in 2007 he and his students have been studying how hedgehogs live in Qatar. At that time, little was known about their habits, including simple things such as whether they hibernate in Qatar or not. He and his first student, Hind Al Musfir, found that hedgehogs do hibernate in Qatar during the coldest part of the year, usually between January and February. Observations also suggested that the breeding season probably starts immediately after they come out of hibernation. Current research students, Hayat Al Jabiry and Afra Al Hajiri, have been working with Dr. Yamaguchi with hedgehogs in the field using radio-tracking techniques, to collect data to further understand their basic ecology. This work is the first research of this type on hedgehogs in a GCC country, and also the first ever research on a terrestrial mammal species in Qatar using radio-tracking. The study is being conducted at the Qatar University Farm in the north of the peninsula.  You may have read about this project in a recent Gulf Times article.  

     
    Dr Yamaguchi has a D.Phil. (ecology and reproductive biology of American mink Mustela vison) from the Department of Zoology and Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University; an M.Sc. (endocrinology of Japanese quail Coturnix japonica) Pure and Applied Physics, Graduate School of Science and Engineering and a B.Sc. (biology) Department of Biology, School of Education, both from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.
     
    Click here for some photos on the biodiversity of Qatar
     
     

    Study on Ethiopian Hedgehog
    Publish Date: Friday,8 October, 2010, at 02:21 AM Doha Time

    By Fran Gillespie/

    Doha

     

    The Qatar Natural History Group’s opening meeting of the 2010-2011 season on Wednesday evening featured an illustrated presentation on the Ethiopian Hedgehog found in Qatar.

    Dr Nobuyuki Yamaguchi of Qatar University’s Department of Biological Sciences spoke about the recent research carried out by himself and his students.

    The Ethiopian Hedgehog is one of three Arabian species, and is found all over
    North Africa and the
    Arabian Peninsula.

    One of the students caught several hedgehogs and kept them in a pen for study.

    From this she was able to discover what time of day or night the animals are active, and that they do indeed hibernate during the coldest days, just as do hedgehogs in
    Europe. 

    Study then moved to the University Farm in north

    Qatar
    where students made numerous field trips to observe the hedgehogs at night, as they are mainly nocturnal.

    Animals were weighed, sexed and their spines marked with nail polish in different colours before being released.

    In three months, 48 different animals were caught and marked, all within the boundaries of the farm.

    Baby hedgehogs were most numerous in May and June, and from this it was concluded that the parents mated in late March soon after emerging from hibernation.

    The next stage was to track the hedgehogs’ nightly movements, using tiny radio antennae which were glued onto the backs of the animals, remaining there for about a month before being shed as the spines renewed themselves.

    “This is the first time radio tracking of these animals has been conducted anywhere in GCC countries,” observed Dr Yamaguchi.

    The distance travelled by these fast-moving creatures astonished the researchers: one animal travelled 1,500m in 15 minutes.

    Male hedgehogs during the mating season covered enormous areas. And not only in search of mates – “word” spread among the hedgehog population that feral cats were being fed nightly at a neighbouring farm, and hedgehogs would travel to the farm to claim their share of the hand-outs.

    Hedgehogs are omnivorous, and will consume anything edible that they can find.

    “We also wanted to find out what type of ground surface is preferred by hedgehogs for their burrows and nesting chambers,” said the speaker.

    “We realised that ground that has been disturbed by humans makes for easier digging, and therefore piles of building rubble, or earth moved by road building, are attractive to them.”

    The Qatar Natural History Group was founded in 1978 and since then has held regular programmes of monthly lectures.

    This year and the next there will be two field trips a month to places of interest, plus camping and dhow trips and overseas excursions.

    For more information visit www.qnhg.org.


    An Ethiopian Hedgehog being examined by researchers at the

    Qatar
    University
    farm