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ARABIAN JOURNEY Left:
ARABIAN JOURNEY Left: entering the 36km canyon of Wadi Khab al Shamsi in Oman’s Musandam Peninsula – the track narrows to just five metres wide with sheer 2,000-metre cliffs on either side. Right: in the Al Lisaili desert near Dubai severely degraded by careless overuse and littering. They have conducted extensive animal research, aided by the latest drone technology. A group of students from the New York University Abu Dhabi has developed the Wadi Drone – a 2.2kg drone with a range of up to 40km that rangers use to roam the park’s remote corners in high summer, collecting data on animal movements. The use of modern technology to aid the preservation of local heritage is something that feels very appropriate in the UAE, and it’s happening at the falconry on THESE BIRDS FLY the Banyan Tree Al Wadi reserve, too. “The Bedouin traditionally FREE. IF THEY used falcons as part of their survival,” explains Ryan. “In the CHOSE TO, THEY winter, when the birds migrate C O U L D F L Y O F F from Europe down to Africa, they’d capture them, train them AT ANY MOMENT for hunting and then release them again in April because in the summer they couldn’t keep them alive. Today, our handlers like to showcase the modern method of falcon training – using a quadcopter drone.” One of the handlers, Khan, demonstrates how a quadcopter drone is fitted with a parachute attached to a dead quail. The drone is then launched to about 100m and the falcon is released. It is in the act of circling upwards towards its prey, which the falcon does instinctively, that the bird becomes fit and agile. Once it captures the quail, the parachute is released and the falcon takes its prey to ground. Ingram notes that these birds fly free. If they chose to, they could fly off at any moment. They only stay as long as the food is good. The same is true of the reserve’s owls. “We breed two owl species: the barn owl and the desert eagle owl. They are indigenous species and the majority of them, about 70%, we train to hunt and then release back into the wild.” INTO THE MOUNTAINS Taking the road east from the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, the dunes give way to open, table-flat gravel plains from which, with great drama, the Hajjar mountain range rises. This jagged spine runs from the Strait of Hormuz way down to the fishing port of Sur at the eastern tip of Oman. It is in these mountains of dark shale-like rock that this country gets really wild, and really complex. We take the Range Rover SVAutobiography up the winding Wadi Madha and soon run out of asphalt. It’s time to employ the Mud and Ruts setting on our Terrain Response – a system that optimises traction on tough terrains by adapting your vehicle’s responses. At the beginning of the valley, the town of Madha is announced by Omani flags and the paternal face of the Sultan of Oman looking down from billboards. Not 10km further on, we enter the tiny settlement of Nahwa. Once more the flags come out, this time the pan-Arab red, green, white and black of the UAE. Soon we see portraits of Sharjah’s ruling Al Qasimi family looking down upon us from hoardings. Yes, we are back in the UAE. This strange corner of the region actually contains an enclave of the UAE, within an enclave of Oman, 63
Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.
In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.