Dr Majid Al Qassimi
works at protecting the UAE’s endangered species. He is one of a number of Emiratis with a keen eye on protecting the natural environment
Amid the hyper-development of his country in terms of architecture, technology and mass communications, Dr Majid Al Qassimi is one of a handful of people working hard to ensure the population does not lose touch with its environment, which defined its way of life less than 50 years ago.
Dr Al Qassimi is a veterinarian, one of only three Emiratis with this professional degree, and holds a full time position at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAAD) ensuring the 30,000 protected animals stay healthy and free from disease. He is also involved in reintroduction projects in the UAE and across the world. Protecting the delicate desert environment is his way of life and his greatest challenge.
‘All desert ecosystems are delicate, that’s half the beauty of them, how they survive and flourish in such extreme conditions. When a wadi floods, or desert rains wash over the sands, it causes a flurry of activity as ephemeral plants bloom and the desolate environment can be transformed quickly in a matter of 24 hours. This country needs people to be fully aware of this and to work to protect it.’
I am part detective, part behaviourist, part doctor, part scientist and part adventurer
Dr Al Qassimi takes inspiration from the founding father of the UAE – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan – who was a huge advocate of environmental protection. ‘He was always known to be a champion of the environment and someone who cared for everything in his country, the trees and animals as much as the people. I always believe he was way ahead of his time and our country as it stands today is a testament to that fact. If everyone thought the way he did we would not have to worry about the environment.’
As such, Dr Al Qassimi says that if he ever had to live outside of the country, he would take a picture of the former leader with him for inspiration
Having always been fascinated with nature, the vet was formerly working in the animal health department in the Al Ain Zoo – a job he says was ‘one of the coolest in the country’. His role took on many different elements such as dental procedures on big cats and vaccinations for oryx and he describes this variety as one of the main reasons he loves his work. ‘I am a doctor whose patients do not communicate directly. I am part detective, part behaviourist, part doctor, part scientist and part adventurer. Vets are problem solvers by nature and must love to get stuck in. That’s me, I will be outside from seven in the morning working with animals. It is both physically as well as mentally demanding but I love how much I know about how nature works and that my work can take me all over the world, in so many disciplines.’
Dr Al Qassimi says that the way to continue his work forward and influence the next generation is through education. He has therefore taken up public speaking and was recently a speaker at TedX Youth in Jumeirah, Dubai. ‘I believe in education and sharing all I have learned for the betterment of my people and country. We have become such a fast paced society. Development in the country must be as well rounded as possible. I feel that the responsibility sits squarely on my shoulders to share what I have learned, as so few of us have taken up this profession,’ he says.