Abu Dhabi’s remaining wetlands and its well publicized Bu Tinah archipelago have been mentioned a number of times by Green Prophet; especially with it being nominated for designation as one of the earth’s Seven World Wonders. But now this natural wonder, along with other designated wetlands such as Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, may once again become home to increasing numbers of beautiful Greater Flamingos that are attracted to these areas as nesting sites.The large pink birds, the largest of their species, are now returning to these locations in the Arabian Gulf after an absence of ten years, according to an article in Abu Dhabi’s The National. Greater flamingos, characterized by their gracefulness, their height of up to 150 cm. and unique call are well-recognized for standing on one foot while resting.
The protected breeding area of Al Wathba now has more than 1,900 flamingos; recently, as many as 90 chicks were counted by scientists from the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi. The National also reported that the flamingos are known to breed in Shahama and Bul Shayeef, though these areas are now under threat of development by real estate companies. Unless the Abu Dhabi government steps in to protect them, the future of these birds, along with other wildlife, could be in jeopardy.
Much of the Gulf region has been under pressure by developers, and this has also caused problems for marine wildlife, including one of the world’s largest concentrations of dugongs – a large herbivorous marine mammal that feeds off of underwater vegetation such as sea grass.
The future of all these animals will greatly depend of efforts made by environmentalists to protect them, as well as by restrictions on construction projects, which have caused considerable environmental damage to areas near both Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai. Neither increasing salinity of the sea water nor higher water temperatures bode well for area wildlife, including the flamingos, who often to fly considerable distances in search of food.
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