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In March 2018, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation Sponsored an Expedition to the Island of Socotra

In March 2018, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation sponsored an expedition conducted by a team consisting of National Geographic explorer and BBC presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi; writer and Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, Leon McCarron; National Geographic photographer and VR expert, Martin Edström; and documentary and film maker, Rhys Thwaites-Jones, to carry out a survey of the island of Socotra, also known as “the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”. The island is, in fact, well-known for its rich biodiversity. It is a treasure trove of animal and botanical species that have elsewhere become extinct.

The expedition was conducted during March and April, 2018 and documented the incredible flora of the island, especially the so-called Dragon’s Blood Tree, a rare arboreal species that takes its name from the peculiar colour of its sap (check on Instagram to see more about this species).

The island is also inhabited by part-time cave dwellers, staying in the caves when the weather worsens; families today live in houses, but it is not rare to find people, even in towns, who were raised in caves. It is the Socotrans’ practices and stewardship that have helped Socotra prosper so far and survive climate change, as well as avoiding accelerated development.

The team’s expedition was widely reported and their articles and photography on the trip are in National Geographic, New Scientist and the Wall Street Journal, the trip was also covered in BBC Radio’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ and a TED talk. The Foundation was widely thanked across most of these media.

The MBI Al Jaber Foundation is very proud to have supported this brave team. On her return to the UK, Ella Al-Shamahi was invited to give a lecture in November 2018 as part of the Foundation’s annual lecture series. This event was well-attended and attracted much attention from the audience, both live and on social media.

For further information, please contact:
Director of Public Relations
[email protected]



Charity Reg. No. 1093439

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