Rare Sea Turtles and Other Wildlife Living Happily on Persian Gulf Atoll

bu tinah abu dhabi island paradise Not in the Pacific, but near Abu Dhabi: Bu Tinah island is small paradise for birds and marine life

Increasing salinity and higher water temperatures may be causing problems for wildlife in many parts of the Persian Gulf. But in one location at least on Abu Dhabi’s Bu Tinah islands, located 130 km west of the sheikdom’s capital, rare hawksbill sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, and thousands of birds appear to be very happy on or around the island, according the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.In fact, things seem to be going so well for the animals who consider small the island archipelago as “home,” that Bu Tinah’s Marwah Marine Biosphere Reserve  has been nominated as one of 28 finalists to be chosen as part of the seven world’s most natural wonders. This in itself is a wonder since the waters there are some of the world’s most saline, and where water temperatures often reach as high as 35 degrees Celsius during the hot summer months.

Bu Tinah hawksbill turtle

Besides the hawkbills, of which a number of new nesting sites were recently found, the archipelago boasts a dugong population of around 600. The dugongs are large, gentle marine mammals that feed on sea grass, compose nearly 25% of the total dugong population of 3,000 that live in the waters in and around this part of the Gulf.

These creatures were highlighted recently in a Green Prophet article that expressed concerns for these creatures, whose numbers have been dwindling worldwide.

In addition to marine life, the archipelago attracts thousands of waterfowl and other birds, including flamingos, ospreys and other raptors, and soccotra cormorants, which roost in Bu Tinah’s mangroves and other vegetation.

All this is good news for a region  being threatened by pollution caused by over development of  artificial islands, and other large real estate projects in both Abu Dhabi (Al Rheem Island); and in neighboring Dubai, where coastal erosion is taking its toll on the region’s environment.

That this small Gulf archipelago is being considered along with other sites such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and America’s Grand Canyon is very noteworthy, and gives an indication that despite Man’s encroachment, some natural areas are still able to flourish and be home for so many animal species.

Abu Dhabi’s main environmental agency, Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) plans to spend Dh28 million (US$7.6 million) to promote Bu Tinah, which the EAD described as an ecological “miracle.”

According to EAD’s spokesperson, Ms. Laila al Hassan:

“We’re sending a message out to the world that our region is not just about oil; and it isn’t just about rapid development. We take conservation very seriously, and we’ve managed to protect Bu Tinah Island as part of this biosphere reserve for so long.”

With all the not-so-good environmental news coming from this region, it’s refreshing to see that there are still eco-friendly parts of Gulf that are conducive to attracting various forms of wildlife. It’s something for regional states to take notice of and try to increase these natural “islands of beauty” that used to be so prevalent there.

Image via New 7 Wonders:

More environmental Gulf Region articles:

Persian Gulf “Mermaids” Threatened by Environmental Problems

Coastal Erosion Threatens Environmental Spots in Gulf Region

Gulf Island Projects are an Environmental Disaster Waiting to Happen

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One thought on “Rare Sea Turtles and Other Wildlife Living Happily on Persian Gulf Atoll”

  1. Hazel Lemar says:

    My husband who is currently working in the Persian Gulf tells me that he spotted a group of predatory fish that he didn’t recognise. He tells me that they were about 4 feet long, had a long pointed jaw, a blue tail and a green body.
    Can anyone identify this fish for me?
    Thank you.

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