UAE: Region’s largest aquarium to open in Abu Dhabi this year

Abu Dhabi - Visitors can stand in the water and feed sharks as long as two metres.

By Staff Report

Published: Tue 3 Aug 2021, 2:14 AM

The National Aquarium (TNA), the largest aquarium in the Middle East, is set to open in Abu Dhabi this year, ready to showcase more than 200 sharks and rays. And the best part is: Visitors will get to feed them in a one-of-a-kind encounter.

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Teeming with marine life, the aquarium will allow guests to delve into an underwater world and discover a variety of species found in oceans.

It will be home to 25 different species of sharks and rays — with bull sharks making their debut in the region. Visitors will be able to see first-hand what is widely considered one of the most dangerous shark species in the ocean and rivers.

Among the other residents of TNA will be some Sand Tiger Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Zebra Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Shovelnose Rays, Cownose Rays and Freshwater Rays.

In an experience called ‘Shark Encounter’, visitors will be able to hand-feed sharks as large as two metres long.

“We cannot wait for our opening this year, to reveal our array of animals and animal-related activities. In general, people have a fear of sharks and we want to celebrate these fascinating creatures that are so crucial to the health of our oceans. We are hoping that through personal interaction, the aquarium will help people overcome any fears and perceptions that they might have,” said Paul Hamilton, general manager at The National Aquarium.

The National Aquarium signed a five-year partnership with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) in July 2020, with the aim to help create the largest and most innovative rehabilitation scheme of its kind to protect and rehabilitate wildlife in the emirate.

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