Seeing Abu Dhabi’s urban foxes in a whole new light
Amid the rising concrete and shimmering skyscrapers of Reem Island, an Australian biologist has found an unlikely ally for wildlife conservation.
Rob Gubiani has spent six months befriending an Arabian red fox and documenting its adaptation to a rapidly changing urban habitat.
“They’re not going to be here for a long time,” said Mr Gubiani, a terrestrial ecologist for Tebodin and former conservation researcher for UAE University.
“From what I can tell, Reem Island is going to end up like JBR. They’re basically just going to disappear into the depths of concrete so I’m hoping that my photos can just bring some light to it and be a record.”
The Arabian red fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) is a common but elusive subspecies of the European red fox.
“Urban foxes are resourceful. They will eat anything and are very attuned to living among people,” said Mr Gubiani. “Fox survival is the epitome of urbanisation because human encroachment just takes up so much space.”
He spent three months gaining the fox’s trust after studying its home range before he began to photograph it at a distance of 10 metres. He often follows the fox four nights a week, and for hours on weekends.
To establish familiarity, he wears the same clothes and uses identical vocalisations at each encounter, including his usual line, “how’s it going, Mr Fox?” Read More