Ras Al Khor sanctuary to have visitors' centre

DUBAI — A Dh10 million Visitors' Centre will be built at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary to educate people on UAE's biodiversity, Dubai Municipality announced yesterday.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 24 May 2006, 11:35 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:49 PM

The centre will also act as a comprehensive reference point for providing updated information on the country's environment, said Hamdan Al Shaer, Director of Environment Department at the municipality.

He made the announcement on the sidelines of a one-day exhibition organised by the civic body to celebrate the International Bio-Diversity Day which falls on May 22 every year. This year, the day was observed worldwide under the banner "Protect Biodiversity in Dry Lands".

The exhibition, organised in co-operation with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) of Sharjah, was inaugurated by Abdullah Rafia, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Environment and Public Health Affairs. The exhibition showcased specimen plants from the country's drylands.

Al Shaer said the proposed Visitors' Centre, which would be located at the end-point of Ras Al Khor sanctuary, would consist of permanent exhibitions for the country's biodiversity including specimens of desert plants, trees and other fauna and flora of the UAE.

"Students and environment-lovers can use it as a centre for learning about the country's flora and fauna. The centre would comprise multi-purpose halls which can be used for conducting awareness lectures and environment workshops," Al Shaer said.

He said that it will have state-of-the-art multi-media appliances apart from high-capacity binoculars that will help people observe wildlife in the wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Sanctuary. He added that the project is in the preliminary design stage and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.

The municipality has built in February 2005 three bird watch-towers at different locations along the sanctuary in a bid to help environment enthusiasts to watch flamingos and other migratory birds at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to 25,000 birds mainly in January, with the density of waders reaching to 21 birds per hectare in spring-autumn and as many as 60 per hectare in winter. There are 32 types of birds, and over 88 species of birds have recorded at the sanctuary, which is also home to some 313 species of wild fauna and flora.

Located at the end of Dubai Creek, the sanctuary's total area of 6.2 square kilometres is internationally recognised by IUCN, the World Conservation Union, as an important wetlands area.

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