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EAD raises awareness on Abu Dhabi’s natural heritage at ADIHEX 2017
September 13, 2017
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ABU DHABI: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, is showcasing the unique biodiversity of Abu Dhabi Emirate at ADIHEX 2017 through three different habitats; coral reef, desert and mountain habitat, the key critical habitats in Abu Dhabi Emirate.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD’s Secretary-General, said, "The varied geology of mountains, sandy desert, wadis and salty flats in Abu Dhabi Emirate create the conditions for a diverse range of terrestrial habitats. Similarly, the harsh climate and extreme oceanographic characteristics have created unique marine habitats, some of which may be particularly resistant to some stressors."

"By participating at ADIHEX 2017, we aim to shed light on Abu Dhabi’s rich natural heritage that feature an exciting mix of geology, habitats and species, both on land and in the sea. In addition, this platform also helps us to raise awareness about our role in conserving and protecting our habitats, one of EAD’s priorities which come in line with the Abu Dhabi Plan," said Al Mubarak.

Dr. Shaikha, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD, said, "One of the main highlights of EAD’s stand at ADIHEX 2017 is the coral reef, a critical marine habitat often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea" due to the great diversity of marine life that they support. In Abu Dhabi alone, we have 34 recorded species of corals which cover approximately 310 km2 of coral reef habitat, mainly occurring in the shallow waters surrounding islands and along the coastline."

Dr. Salim Javed, EAD’s Acting Director of Terrestrial Biodiversity, said, "Visitors attending ADIHEX 2017 will have the chance to learn more about Jebel Hafeet, the only mountain found within Abu Dhabi Emirate and considered one of the most important areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for terrestrial biodiversity."

He said, "Jebel Hafeet supports a range of rare species and habitat, which are unable to thrive in the surrounding desert. The globally threatened Arabian Tahr is one of these species and it has been caught on EAD’s radar, as part of its on-going effort to monitor mammal diversity and distribution in and around Jebel Hafeet that started in 2011. Using special cameras and infra-red lighting, the EAD team estimated the presence of at least 10 Arabian Tahr in the mountain. There are now plans to initiate a radio-collaring study to determine the Arabian Tahr’s home range and movements on the mountain to develop better management strategy for the species."

Dr. Javed added, "The Egyptian vulture, a threatened species, also inhabits the mountain and can be seen soaring on top of the mountain in thermal currents. EAD has been working on studying the movement and migration patterns of the Egyptian Vultures, and since 2015, has tagged and tracked four vultures, two of which have moved to neighbouring Oman."

In the desert habitat section, visitors will learn about the Ghaf tree, which is an integral part of the natural heritage of the UAE and a witness to its history and civilization. The tree is designated as a "keystone" species of the desert habitat. It is known for being a great survivor, requiring very little groundwater. It is able to tap water from nearly 30 metres below the ground, and so its presence in an area indicates underground water.

EAD's stand is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and is located in Hall 5 - D10 at ADNEC.

WAM

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