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Prince Charles visits Bu Tinah nature reserve

posted on 08/11/2016: 1195 views

The heir to the British throne, HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, this morning visited Abu Dhabi's Bu Tinah Shoal, west of Abu Dhabi, at the invitation of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD.

Before leaving Abu Dhabi, the Prince was briefed by EAD's Secretary General, Razan Al Mubarak, who shared with him Abu Dhabi's vision for conserving biodiversity.

The Bu Tinah Shoal is part of the Marawah Marine Protected Area and Biosphere Reserve, which covers over 4,000 square kilometres. Located approximately 130 km west of Abu Dhabi City, the horse-shoe shaped shoal has been protected by EAD since 2001.

It was the first Biosphere Reserve in the region to receive recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO.

Overall, around 13 percent of Abu Dhabi's offshore waters are included in Marine Protected Areas, MPAs, with 15 percent of the land surface of the Emirate being included in Terrestrial Protected Areas, TPAs.

Describing Bu Tinah as the 'Galapagos of the Arabian Gulf', Al Mubarak explained that the shoal and the surrounding Marawah Protected Area are the home to a wide variety of marine and coastal ecosystems, including seagrass beds, coral reefs and mangroves.

During his visit to Bu Tinah, Prince Charles, who is President of Britain's Marine Conservation Society, was escorted by Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD's Executive Director of Marine and Terrestrial Diversity.

Highlights of the visit, she told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, were a wide variety of birds, including the globally-endangered Socotra Cormorant, ospreys and Western Reef Herons, while, during a short boat trip around the shoal, Prince Charles was also able to see a number of turtles. Bu Tinah is an important nesting site for the endangered hawksbill turtle.

The Marawah MPA as a whole is also home to the dugong, sometimes known as the sea cow, an endangered marine mammal, although none were seen during the visit. The UAE's waters are home to the second largest population of these endangered mammals in the world, with around 60 percent of these spending most of the year in the MPA. The Marine Protected Area was recently recognised as one of the top twenty sites in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia network of reserves, IOSEA. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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