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Abu Dhabi’s flamingo sanctuary reopens today

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The Greater Flamingo is one of the star attractions of the reserve

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) reopened Al Wathba Wetland Reserve to the public from today, January 1, 2021.

One of the first natural reserves to be established in Abu Dhabi, it was closed to the public as a precautionary measure against the spread of the Covid-19.

Established in 1998 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father, the reserve consists of both natural and man-made bodies of water, and is located 40 km southeast of central Abu Dhabi. Covering a total of five sq km, it comprises wetlands, salt flats, fossilised sands and dunes.

It is home to more than 260 migratory bird species – including its star attraction, the Greater Flamingo. Flamingos flock to the wetlands in their thousands to enjoy the warm weather during the winter months, with some remaining all year round. Nearly 4,000 flamingos reside on the reserve alone. Overall, there are more than 230 species of invertebrates, 11 mammals, 10 reptiles and over 35 species of plants.

At the wetland reserve, visitors can enjoy biodiversity without harming the ecosystem and the environment. A viewing platform will allow visitors to closely observe wildlife in their natural habitats. There are designated 1.5km- and 3km-long walking trails that members of the public can take advantage of too.

The reserve will be open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm, every week. It is on the way to the Sheikh Zayed Festival, if you are travelling through Mussafah and Mohammed Bin Zayed City. Entry is free, and visitors are advised to adhere to all Covid-19 precautionary measures.