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Bura Reserve in Yemen Threatened by War and Climate Change

Bura Reserve is one of Yemen’s natural and archaeological treasures. However, the ongoing war and climate changes have significantly impacted its features, leading to the disappearance of rare bird species and the extinction of certain animals. Considered one of Yemen’s most important wildlife reserves, “Bura” boasts a unique mountainous natural richness, thanks to its exceptional location and terrain. It received recognition as the last remaining wild tropical reserve in the Arabian Peninsula in late 2011.

According to Yemeni citizen Faisal Al-Assali, “Bura Reserve stands out among other Yemeni reserves due to its diverse plant and animal life. It is home to over 300 plant species and holds the title of the largest reserve in our country in terms of tropical and equatorial biodiversity. Its environmental diversity makes it a popular tourist destination.”

A Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Visitors to the reserve are captivated by its natural paradise. They encounter lush, silk-like green trees embellished with harmonious and vibrant colors, showcasing various pyramid-shaped forms that range in height from 300 to 1500 feet above sea level. Situated 50 km east of Al Hudaydah governorate, the reserve serves as the only escape for the inhabitants of the western coast. Its popularity surges during the summer due to its pleasant temperature, which does not exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

Yemeni researcher Tawfiq Agha highlights the distinctiveness of Bura Natural Reserve compared to other Yemeni reserves like Socotra. It is renowned for its medicinal trees, which offer unique extracts not found elsewhere. The reserve encompasses an extensive forest that stretches from the Tihama plains to the western mountains of Al Hudaydah governorate.

He further notes that Bura Natural Reserve falls under the administration of Al Hudaydah governorate and boasts abundant animal diversity, including rare species of monkeys. Official statistics rank Bura Reserve second, following Socotra Island, in terms of the number of plants, animals, and birds it hosts.

The Reserve is Home To More Than 400 Plant Species

This reserve is among the most significant tropical forests on the Arabian Peninsula, hosting over 490 plant species as well as a variety of wild predators, birds, amphibians, butterflies, reptiles, and mammals. Official reports confirm that the reserve is home to numerous rare regional and desert plants, with up to 315 species from 83 families and 209 genera. Among them, 63 species are rare at national and regional levels, while 85 species face endangerment. Bura Natural Reserve shelters eight plant species that exist nowhere else in the world.

Yemeni activist Ahed Al-Rafid explains that Bura Reserve covers an area of 4100 hectares and is located east of Al Hudaydah city in Yemen. It is renowned for its tropical plants and several rare animals, making it the last remaining tropical forest on the Arabian Peninsula, with more than 319 plant species.

Throughout the year, approximately 93 species of wild birds, including African and resident species, can be found in Bura Reserve. Out of these, 32 species inhabit its plains and mountainous areas, while 17 species are African birds and five are migratory birds.

The reserve is famous for housing birds such as the Egyptian vulture, African flycatcher, Arabian chat, Yemen linnet, green pigeon, weaver bird, and two endangered species of hawks.

In terms of reptiles, amphibians, and piscine creatures, the reserve accommodates around 13 reptile species, including four endemic to the forest. It also harbors five species of amphibians, such as frogs, and two species of freshwater fish, as reported by the General Environmental Authority.

The reserve features various reptiles, including snakes like the cobra, along with several African reptile species. Butterflies gracefully flutter across the forest’s water bodies, plains, and streams, presenting their beautiful shapes and colors. The authority estimates the number of butterfly species to be around 60, including moths, beetles, prophet’s horse, and rare insects.

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