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A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise

A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise
8 July 2024 08:55

MAYS IBRAHIM (ABU DHABI)

More than a global hub of culture and commerce, dedicated conservation efforts in Abu Dhabi have allowed the emirate to emerge as a biodiversity hotspot. From majestic sea turtles to elusive sea snakes, the emirate's azure waters are a safe haven for a remarkable array of marine life.

Guardians of the Seagrass Meadows

Abu Dhabi proudly hosts a significant population of Green Turtles, the world's largest herbivorous sea turtle species. With an estimated 6,732 individuals frequenting its waters for foraging, these gentle giants play a crucial role in maintaining the health of seagrass ecosystems. In May 2023, the first Green Turtle nest was discovered in Abu Dhabi, marking a milestone in local conservation efforts.

  • A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise


A Nesting Ground

Known for their distinct, beak-like mouths, Hawksbill Turtles find solace in the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, a vital foraging ground in Abu Dhabi. These turtles, renowned for their nesting habits in the UAE, contribute to the rich tapestry of marine life that calls Abu Dhabi home.

Corals: Defying the Odds

Adapting to some of the world's hottest temperatures, the corals of Abu Dhabi exhibit a rare resilience. Hosting unique species of symbiotic algae, these corals thrive in approximately 502 square kilometres of reef habitats, supporting a delicate balance of marine life.

  • A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise

Rare Mammals

Abu Dhabi's waters are also home to around 3,000 dugongs, representing one of the world's largest and most stable populations of these gentle marine mammals. With the highest density per square metre in the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi plays a pivotal role in their conservation.

  • A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise

Dolphins Thrive in Protected Areas

The emirate boasts more than 700 dolphins, including the largest group of Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins worldwide. Marine protected areas in Abu Dhabi are essential sanctuaries for these dolphins, alongside endangered species like the finless porpoises and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins.

  • A Haven for Marine Biodiversity: Dive into Abu Dhabi's underwater paradise

A Unique Underwater Resident

Among the four recorded species of sea snakes in Abu Dhabi, the Arabian Gulf Sea Snake stands out with its distinctive dark bands against a backdrop of yellow or pale green. Often sighted in the Marawah Marine Biosphere, these sea snakes contribute to the emirate's rich marine tapestry.

Protecting Vital Habitats

As Abu Dhabi continues to evolve as a global leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, its commitment to preserving marine biodiversity remains steadfast.

Beyond its waters, the emirate has designated two wetland areas under the Ramsar Convention, safeguarding critical habitats like Al Wathba Wetland Reserve and the Bul Syayeef Marine Protected Area.

It's also worth noting that the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) manages six marine reserves within the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network, which represent 13.9 % of the total marine environment in Abu Dhabi.

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