Visit Al Wathba Wetland to Click & Win

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Several times we go far away to see beautiful places and subjects. Many times we forget to visit the natural beauty which is close to us. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi is one such place that UAE residents and visitors should never miss to visit.

Al Wathba is globally recognized as a national and regional hotspot for scientific research and contributes to developing the global scientific knowledge on wetland ecology and the biology of breeding resident and migratory birds of the UAE, including the flagship species, the Greater Flamingo. The reserve supports a rich array of wildlife and many globally and locally threatened wetland species. The reserve is one of the first protected areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the first to be declared as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

The reserve supports a rich array of wildlife and many globally and locally threatened wetland species. Since 2011, flamingos have regularly bred in Al Wathba.

Total has extended its collaboration with EAD through a new partnership to protect and develop Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The objectives of this partnership is to support the agency in its efforts to protect  the wetlands of the Abu Dhabi region.

Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has launched Al Wathba photography competition to win a prizes up to AED 24,000. Starting from now to the 30th of April, 2017. You are encouraged to participate in it.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve was established in 1998 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It was the first place in the Emirate to be designated for protection by law and was declared a Ramsar site in 2013. This means that the site has been recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and joins a list of over 2,000 other internationally recognized wetlands around the world.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve covers a total area of five square kilometers, comprising wetlands, sabkhas (salt flats), fossilized sands and dunes.

Despite its relatively small size, it simply teems with life. You will discover an amazing diversity here, including several endangered species who have made this their home and found shelter, protection and nourishment.

The presence of so many different habitats and types of vegetation within one compact area has attracted many different forms of life. More than 250 species of birds have been spotted, along with an abundance of aquatic life, as well as 37 plant species. Al Wathba also features a rich variety of dragon flies and damsel flies.

But its greatest and most spectacular attraction is, of course, its flamingo population. When these migratory birds fly in to spend autumn until spring here, as many as 4,000 can be counted. Even when the majority return to Central Asia for the summer months, they still leave behind a resident population which can be seen all year round. In July 2013, the Greater flamingo colony successfully hatched 231 chicks at Al Wathba.

When to visit?

Since Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is an ecologically sensitive area, visiting hours and days are limited.

The reserve is open for public on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8.00am to 2.00pm and for schools on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

What will you find there?

Recent on-site construction has made Al Wathba more visitor-friendly including a bird hide that provides easy, close-up viewing.

There are also two clearly marked walking trails, of one and a half and three kilometers respectively, which give great views of the flamingo colonies.

What species can be seen there?

There are hundreds of bird, plant and other species to be seen at Al Wathba – these are just some of them. To get more information, click on the name of the species that interest you.

– Greater flamingo

– Black winged stilt

– Spiny tailed lizard

How Do you Get There?

The reserve is squeezed between Baniyas City, Musaffah, and the Abu Dhabi Al Ain Truck Road.

Al WAthba Wetland Reserve map


 Spread the word. IT’S BACK! The “Al Wathba Photography Competition” is back for a third round starting from November 6th, 2016 to April 30th, 2017.

Snap an amazing photo and participate in the “Al Wathba Photography Competition”.

The competition will have two categories this year amateur photographers and professional photographers. Participants will get the chance to participate with one photo.

The reserve is open for the public on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8.00am to 4.00pm.

To participate in the competition, follow us on our Instagram account (@EAD_Community):

Upload the photo with the hashtag: #capturealwathba

As a caption :“Participating in the competition”

Please read the terms and conditions of the competition. By participating, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions, the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi will not be held responsible if the terms and conditions were not followed. All the photo that are submitted by participants in the competition will be owned by EAD and will be evaluated and uploaded with the list of all participating photo’s.

Prizes worth AED 24,000 in the forms of vouchers:

 2 Categories:

Professional photographers:

First place winner – 6,000 DHS

Second place winner – 5,000 DHS

Third place winner – 4,000 DHS

Amateur photographers:

First place winner – 4,000 DHS

Second place winner – 3,000 DHS

Third place winner – 2,000 DHS

A team of qualified judges will evaluate the photos and choose the winning photos. The winners of the competition will be announced in a special event.

Best wishes to all participants.

To know more details + Click here to visit the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve website.

Photo credit: Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi. Text source: Al Wathba Wetland reserve site

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