Sunday, 5 April 2009

Jebel life

Jebel Abdul Azziz is a protected area (PA) for nature in the Syrian Al Jazeria (island desert). As part of a UN Development Program we are here to survey the site for birds and habitats. It is nearly 40km long, and about 4km wide and runs basically east to west. Mountainous and arid with a few pistachio trees and deep gorges. The later makes doing transects interesting to say the least! My calf muscles have turned to concrete.

The Jebel

We are based in an office to the east of the reserve, 30km from Al-Hasake, with basic accommodation, but a good new team. Hussien from Al-Raqqa is translating for us and we also have Mr Zoober, Mr Akmed the Driver, and Mr Security.

Mr Zoober, Mr Security, Mr Driver

Zoober is the bird researcher and it is good to see him flourish. His English is improving with us and we have had a laugh. We have nearly killed him, he reckons, walking 15km plus a day up and down steep gorges, in searing heat. He reckons he lost 7kg in the first three days.

Mr Zoober