90 percent of nature reserves in Egypt got looted
Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy - YOUM7/Amr Mustafa

CAIRO: A total of 90 percent of nature reserves in Egypt has been looted in the period following the January 25 Revolution in 2011, Ministry of Environment announced in an official report Friday.

Thieves have been looting wood, rocks, and other protected items or animals from within the reserves to be either used for personal gain or to be sold to tourists, according to the report.

It also stressed the importance of protecting the reserves for the sake of biodiversity and environmental balance. There are 30 reserves in Egypt that represent 15 percent of the total area of land.

One of the reserves that looted on a daily basis is the Petrified Forest Area in Maadi, full of dense rocky stems of trees and rocky wood with very thick circumference.

The Ministry of Environment said that officials are preparing to build an international environmental center in the mentioned reserve in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing. The center will include a virtual museum about creatures that lived in Egypt 35 million years ago.

Officials are planning with the governorate of Cairo to transfer the Wadi Degla Protected Area, which includes mountain rabbits, red foxes, feather tailed rats, and other animals, into an important touristic area.

Regarding the Wadi Sanor Cave protected Area in Beni Suef, the ministry said that it is now cooperating with Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces to prepare the reserve to welcome visitors.

The ministry is now constructing a museum of fossils in Wadi Al-Hitan and will develop Wadi El-Rayan reserve with a total cost of 300,000 EGP after being damaged by visitors, according to ONA news agency Friday.

Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy said in a press statement Friday that they will provide all the necessary protection methods to ensure the safety of the reserves, Al-Badil reported.  “These reserves represent the beauty and charm of nature,” he said.

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