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Natural UAE


The island of Sir Abu Nu'air is one of the UAE's larger offshore islands, with an area of nearly 10 sq km. Formerly unihabited except for a few transient fishermen, it has been extensively developed in recent years. It rises to 81m above sea level and is a typical salt-dome island. The central area is hilly and has many igneous intrusions, while the landscape is heavily gullied and vegetation remains sparse. There is a single, now apparently brackish, well in the interior of the island, this once providing sweet freshwater to visiting fishermen.

Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) come ashore to nest annually, an activity apparently unaffected by modern day development. Nesting seabirds have not fared so well, however, with the numerous feral cats being a major problem. The red-billed tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) formerly nested in some numbers but appears now to have abandoned the island.

At the present day the island has a strategic importance, lying as it does alongside one of the world's busiest oil-shipping lanes.

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