x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai wetlands gain international recognition

The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is the first wetland in the UAE to be recognised by Wetland Link International.

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, at the end of Dubai Creek, has been recognised by Wetland Link International. Photo courtesy Government of Dubai
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, at the end of Dubai Creek, has been recognised by Wetland Link International. Photo courtesy Government of Dubai

DUBAI // Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary has received the stamp of approval from a British environmental education group.

The sanctuary is the first wetland in the country to be recognised by Wetland Link International, based in Gloucestershire in England.

“It is a matter of pride that it has recently been accepted as a member of WLI,” said Hamdan Al Shaer, director of the environment department at Dubai Municipality.

Endorsed by the Ramsar Convention – the international treaty for the conservation of wetlands signed in Iran in 1971 – WLI has 350 members spread across six continents.

Ras Al Khor’s inclusion in the WLI will improve its ability to take part in global efforts to educate people about the importance of wetlands, said Mohammed Abdul Rahman, head of the marine environment and wildlife section at Dubai Municipality.

Located at the end of Dubai Creek, Ras Al Khor is home to 270 species of fauna and 47 species of flora.

The most commonly noticed inhabitants are the more than 3,000 Greater flamingos that migrate there for the winter.

The wetlands also regularly support more than 20,000 waterbirds from 67 species in the cooler months, when it acts as a critical staging ground for migratory waterbirds along the East African-West Asian Flyway.

Globally threatened species such as the Sociable lapwing and Greater Spotted eagle have also been seen in the area.

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary has three bird hides open to the public every day except Friday. They can be visited for free from 9am to 4pm.

malkhan@thenational.ae