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Mammals Overview

Marine mammals are relatively common in UAE waters and include a far greater diversity than most people would imagine possible. The two groups of marine mammals that are represented here are the whales and dolphins of the order Cetacea, and the dugong of the order Sirenia. The pinnipeds, including the seals and sealions, have no living representatives in the UAE. However, the extinct Indian Ocean monk seal probably once lived in these waters, and there continue to be unconfirmed reports of seal sightings in the Gulf of Oman, including one near Diba in 1995 on the UAE east coast. It is very unlikely that any seal populations exist in the wild today and any sightings are probably of escaped captive animals or strays from distant waters that perhaps made their way to the UAE on board ocean-going ships. Many whales, dolphins and dugongs on the other hand, are resident here and in some cases form populations of global significance.

Return to Marine - Main Index