It is good news that the Gulf is not quite as polluted as some commentators would have us believe. The UAE continues to escape the major effects of the Nowruz oil spill and recordings of marine life are coming in again. Reports in the international press over the summer indicated that the dugong was to all intents and purposes extinct in the Gulf but, as Miscellany notes, recent sightings have not been uncommon. Such observations should not lull us into complacency, however, since the whole episode is a reminder that the major threat to the local marine environment is man himself.
To celebrate the seventh anniversary of the founding of the Group, there will be an Open Afternoon in the Workroom on November 14th, commencing at 4 p.m. Committee members and Recorders will be on hand to show visitors around and to describe the Group's aims and activities. Everybody is welcome, so bring a friend along.
The Al Ain branch of the ENHG is thriving and continues to arrange detailed programmes of talks and social events. Liaison between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain is close; speakers are exchanged on an irregular but fairly frequent basis and monthly newsletters also keep each branch in touch. Correspondence and newsletters from Al Ain is on display in the Workroom and at Monday meetings.
Al Ain town has another link with the Abu Dhabi branch -- several of the post-neolithic flint artefacts found by members in the Western Region in recent months are now on show at the Museum.
It is with regret that 1983 sees the departure of more stalwarts associated with the Group. Val Stokell, erstwhile Mammal Recorder and newsletter co-ordinator, left over the summmer, at about the same time as Terry and Muriel Giles. As Correspondence Secretary Muriel gave invaluable help in cataloguing the Group's copious collection of letters, enquiries and articles, and she is also sorely missed behind the tea bar on Monday evenings. The vacuum has been partly filled, however. Dave Rowlands became the new Mammal Recorder in August, and Liz Aston has recently joined the Committee. Already she has reorganised the Geology and Fossil section in the Workroom, and she is a welcome addition to the Group in this field which has hitherto been a gap in our recording activities. Another departure was that of Peter Dickinson, ex-Curator at Al Ain Zoo and along with Chris Furley instrumental in setting up the Al Ain branch. He will certainly be missed in Al Ain and we too wish him and his family good luck.
After my optimism in the July editorial over the creation of a Dubai branch, alas, it seems not to have got off the ground. That there is a demand is clear from correspondence received and the regular trickle of new subscribers from Dubai. Perhaps 1984 will see the ENHG represented there too.