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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fire on wadi Dibnhe Oasis

From Ahmed Saeed:

After the rain last month, we have fire on wadi DIBNHE the fire so big start yesterday June 18, 2011 at 7am morning to 5pm afternoon.

Many people from Hadibo and the Army helped to assuage the fire, they use water pumps some people buy new pumps just for take down the fire, but because of the wind the work was so difficult.

The fire start from one garden of palm trees, when a woman was cleaned her palm trees garden from the dead leaves, collect them and make fire of the waste (bush) dead leaves. The wind spread the fire to her palm trees and to the others palm tree on other gardens. The density of palms in the area and the strong monsoon help the fire to spread very fast.

There are many damages, first of all hundred of palm trees which is full of date, 3 fishermen boats which where kept under the palm trees because of windy season and hundreds of fences. On the other side the environmental problem from dying of many insects, reptiles, palm trees crabs and destroying of habitats for birds and many other organisms.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Female guides welcome visitors to Socotra

The quiet life of the fishermen’s village of Terbak got new stimulus when tourists started coming to visit a cave located on its tribal land. Overlooking the northern coast of Soqotra island, Hoq Cave is a more than 3 km long karst formation with beautiful stalagmites, stalactite curtains and a lake at the very end. Hundreds of tourists don’t hesitate to hike for over an hour across difficult terrain to enjoy the cave’s charm.

After the Socotra Eco-tourism Society, founded by the UNDP Socotra Conservation and Development Programme in 2003, included Hoq Cave in their tourist itinerary, local guides were needed. For the last three years, guiding services in Terbak have been organized in a way that allows all the local inhabitants to share in the profits. Guides take regular turns, and from the YR 4,000 earned for each journey to the cave and back, YR 1,000 goes to the community and the rest to the guide’s family. Similar benefit-sharing works run in many other areas on the island, and together with community-run eco-campsites, create an economic system directing income from tourism to poor local communities.

But what you will not see anywhere else but in Terbak is that local women also guide the tourists.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Socotra in Nature Middle East‏

Latest short note on Socotra with relation to the current events in Yemen and a follow-up from our conservation paper, in the new scientific online portal Nature Middle East, for your interest:

Insular biodiversity in a changing world

Saturday, 16 April 2011

15 pirates arrived to Deleisha village with their small boat last week offering locals money in order to get fuel.

Locals welcomed them and asked them to stay overnight before they get the fuel next morning. Early morning, police and army arrived to the place and arrested the pirates. Since there was no response from their colleagues and their ship had run out of fuel, three other pirates who were waiting in the ship arrived in Socotra sea port. The army caught them too including the ship which had a Yemeni flag.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Friends of Soqotra Ten Years - Annual Meeting Bern 2011‏

Dear visitor,

We would like to announce the date and place for the 10th FoS AGM, planned for September 23-25th in Bern, Switzerland, kindly hosted this year by Dr Eike Neubert.

10th FoS AGM Invitation
Ten years ago, Friends of Soqotra (FoS) was established, a non-profit charity organization initiated and maintained by a number of volunteers, for the promotion of the sustainable use and conservation of the natural and cultural environment of the Soqotra Archipelago (Yemen). The Friends of Soqotra Annual Meeting is one of the organization’s main activities. The annual meeting provides a platform where people of all ages and nationalities are welcome and where ideas can be exchanged. It enhances communication between groups and individuals involved or interested in the island, transferred to Soqotra through the Tayf newsletter. FoS is now a decade young. During this time, Soqotra underwent strong changes and threats to the natural and cultural heritage have increased. FoS would like to continue its commitment and maintain promotion of the international communication between groups involved or interested in Soqotran culture and nature.
We would like to welcome you to the 10th AGM of the FoS, held at the Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 23th-25th September 2011, kindly hosted by Dr Eike Neubert.
We hereby invite members of FoS and non-members, people with a wider interest in Soqotra, to attend the lectures and join in the discussions. During the FoS Conference, an update on current issues on Soqotra will be presented, including members from different institutions and with very diverse interests - which has always lead to fruitful discussions in the past, interaction and communication between international groups visiting the island.
Details on the venue will be sent in a next circular. We invite presentations. If you feel interested, please send a topic of your talk (open to anything regarding Soqotra) and a few lines to AGM 2011 Steering Committee BEFORE June 6, 2011, or to our host, Dr Eike Neubert at Based on this, we will prepare a programme. If certain of attending, please forward your schedule of arrival and departure as well. For requests/questions, please contact the Steering Committee. Note that FoS cannot reimburse expenses for travel or accommodation costs and hope you can cover this by expense of your institute or individually. A programme will follow in June and the FoS is open to a wide public and we look forward to seeing new faces every year, anyone interested in attending talks about ongoing research on Socotra in any field, updates and meeting others that are active on the island. Membership is not required for attending the meeting.
with best

Kay Van Damme,
FoS Chairman

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Three dozens of Socotri tourist guides and drivers participated in a waste management training delivered by Dr. Mounir Bushra Mina

Three dozens of Socotri tourist guides and drivers participated in a waste management training delivered by Dr. Mounir Bushra Mina, an Egyptian waste management specialist, on March 9, 2011 in Hadibo
Dr. Mina has been engaged by QUDRAT project of the Italian Cooperation to make an assessment of current solid waste situation on Socotra and to recommend a new solid waste management system for the island.

The topic of the training drew a keen attention of its audience working in tourism industry. A discussion following an introductory lecture included many serious questions and was concluded by identifying the most important issues related to waste management on Socotra. This last part of the meeting was requested by tourist guides themselves who feel that uncontrolled polluting of Socotra is not only harmful for the nature but also for their business.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Past and present human impacts on the biodiversity of Socotra Island (Yemen): Implications for future conservation

Just to let you know that "THE SOCOTRA CONSERVATION ARTICLE: Past and present human impacts on the biodiversity of Socotra Island (Yemen): Implications for future conservation" by Kay Van Damme and Lisa Banfield just got published in the Zoology in the Middle East, Special Issue 3 (2011), currently free to download from!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

World's Biggest Cave?

Straight from karstworlds and National Geographic
Britisch team led by Howard Limbert discovered what they claim to be the biggest cave in the world in a remote part of Vietnam.

A photography and filming crew from National Geographic Channel joined the team in 2010 on a 20 day expedition into Hang Son Doong ("Mountain River Cave").

Together with an international team of scientists they hiked deep into the jungle of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and descened into the abyss to find out the thruth: Is this cave really bigger then Deer Cave (Malaysia), the current record holder?

You can read the report of the expedion in the January 2011 edition of the National Geographic Magazine both in paper version as well as online. On the NGC website you can also find a nice picture gallery and an interactive map of Hang Son Doong.

The documentary "World's biggest cave" will be aired the first time in Europe on January 30th at 21.00 (GMT+1). You can find the trailer below:

And the 3D topographical map:

Monday, 3 January 2011

Best wishes for all!

Dear reader,

Now that this blog got updated for 2010, we can freshly start with this year.
Insh Allah, our new website about a decade of cave exploration and research of the Soqotran Underground will be put online later this year. SKP is still ongoing and our new Scope of Work of SKP10 is getting shape. We will keep you posted right here!

Best wishes, good heatlh, friendship, prosperity and happiness, especially to all our friends on Soqotra.