Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
I didn’t travel too far outside of Dubai for this visit, probably about 50 kms from home to a place called Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary. The Wildlife Sanctuary covers the coastline between Jebel Ali and Ghantoot in the UAE and access is currently closed to the public, but periodic beach clean ups, mangrove plantings and BBQs are held at their discovery centre on Jebel Ali Beach. I felt lucky to be invited by a friend of the family who is very passionate about all things environmental and she’s currently involved in the project to propagate the diminishing indigenous mangrove plant to the area. She informed me that visiting local schools and volunteers have been a regular event at the sanctuary in the past few months, but on the day I went it was fairly quiet. I enjoyed a welcome Arabic coffee under the open air canopy along with a few others including the host Major Ali Saqr Sultan Al Suweidi, President of the Emirates Marine Environmental Group, EMEG. In 1998, under the management of Dubai Municipality in partnership of EMEG, the Sanctuary declared its main objective was to conserve the natural marine life resources of Dubai and sadly is the only remaining area in Dubai where Hawksbill Turtles are observed to nest.
It was a pleasure to tour the site; I spotted what I believed to be Sand Gazelles, mangroves and birds of prey. Most noticeable though and dispiriting was the amount of garbage that continually washes up on the shoreline; bottles, suitcases, shoes – you name it; not exclusively a local issue but a global one. I’m not normally outspoken about environmental matters, but when you see this kind of devastation to the natural habitat you do hope that EMEG and the Municipality achieve their goals to preserve the culture and natural habitat of the area.
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