Dubai: Dr. Reza Khan has, in all likelihood, had the wildest time in the UAE.
The 72-12 months-old wildlife expert retired on June 1 after 30 years of the carrier with Dubai Municipality.
Dr. Khan, from Bangladesh, became, to begin with, the head of the section of the now-closed Dubai Zoo (run by using the municipality) and later appointed the predominant natural world professional on the municipality.
He has lengthy been the pass-to individual for amateurs, regular citizens, the press and officials looking to discover or research greater about the natural world they’ve encounter inside the UAE.
Dr. Khan is likewise known for being the first to document some of rare natural world species and sightings inside the UAE and has written books on the concern, replete with snap shots taken using himself (Dr. Khan is by no means too a ways from his DSLR camera and massive 500mm lens).
Dr. Khan now plans to split his time flippantly among the UAE and Bangladesh, carrying on together with his subject research and consultancy offerings.
“I will miss Dubai Zoo and Dubai Safari, now that I’m a free man. But I’ll be doing plenty more birdwatching; going across the UAE and spending time with my five grandchildren. At the identical time, I will be going lower back to Bangladesh, spending half of the time there. They have a brand new grasp plan for a country wide zoo, and I’m likely to be worried,” Dr. Khan said for the duration of a distinct interview with Gulf News these days while exploring Al Qudra desert on Dubai’s outskirts.
As traditional, Dr. Khan’s mind has been interrupted intermittently as he spotted a chook here, a beetle there, all with lightning pace and accuracy.
Dr. Khan has a unique hobby in birds — he joined Bombay Natural History Society in 1974 beneath Salim Ali, “the wonderful birdman of India.”
In 1983, while Dr. Khan turned into the assistant professor at Dhaka University, he obtained a communication from Ali pronouncing “petrodollar is calling you” (petrodollar refers to the income of oil-rich international locations, inclusive of the UAE).
Dr. Khan was named by using Ali as one in all three applicants for Al Ain Municipality, who desired to recruit a chicken expert for the zoo there.
He was given the process and landed at Abu Dhabi Airport on December 14, 1983 — one day before his entry permit was going to expire.
“I came with simply $50 in my pocket [around $123 or Dh451, adjusted for inflation], and that too my household had given me. In April 1984, I was given my first income while my UAE visa becomes stamped in my passport — that’s how long it took those days,” Dr. Khan stated.
“Everyone changed into lending me money until I was given my first profits. It changed every day. They stated, ‘simply supply us a cheque and we can place the date on it while you could pay us back’. That’s just how it labored lower back inside the day.”
A month later, his spouse and three kids joined him.
His eldest son turned into enrolled in the sixth grade, daughter in Grade 1 and the youngest son turned into best aged three at the time.
The own family’s residence became within the zoo, and Dr. Khan recalls nicely how he would get “furious” calls from his youngsters’ school.“My youngsters’ instructors could ask them, ‘wherein do you stay?’ They would reply, ‘we stay in a zoo’. The teachers would grow to be furious and make contact with us, ‘Your kids are looking to crack jokes with us’.”
“But we had been staying inside the zoo; we had to provide an explanation for. The equal component might appear while we moved to Dubai Zoo — and we enjoyed it.”
Dr. Khan joined because the legitimate in the price of Dubai Zoo in June 1989 and moved right into a six-bedroom villa there in August of the same 12 months.
“Nobody knew the villa became there because no one truly saw it. Visitors had to pass the front of the villa to head inside Dubai Zoo right. Where the flamingos have been, at the left there may be a door that asserts ‘No Entry’ — that’s my door,” he stated.
Dr. Khan may be handing over the keys to the villa later this month. It is wherein his children grew up, forging close bonds with some of the other citizens of the zoo, which closed in 2017.