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Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi is set to close for bird nesting season


Wildlife enthusiasts will have to wait till November to explore the flora and fauna, salt lakes and fossilised sand dunes at the wetlands.

The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced that Al Wathba Wetland Reserve will temporarily close on 31 March.

The reason for the move is to protect bird nesting, but don’t worry, the site will reopen in November of this year.  

The reserve, which reopened on 1 January to public  and is one of the first natural reserves in Abu Dhabi, is home to more than 260 migratory birds and is an important breeding site for Greater Flamingoes.  

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi has already recorded 1,000 nests in the area and noticed that important migratory and resident bird species – Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Red-wattled Lapwing, Ring Plover and White-tailed Lapwing – have started nesting around the lakes and within the reserve.

According to Ahmed Alhashmi, Acting Executive Director, Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at EAD, all this points to the significance of the reserve to the wildlife and its success as a habitat.

We were extremely happy to witness the early flamingo nesting season, which started last month [February].

“To ensure that the nesting season continues successfully, we have decided to close Al Watbha Wetland Reserve, as part of our commitment towards the conservation of our bird species and the reserve’s biodiversity.”



According to EAD, footfall at the reserve has reached 17,000 people since January and is expected to increase to over 20,000 visitors for this entire season, which will be the highest attendance Abu Dhabi’s environmental park would’ve had since opening in 2014.

The Agency will use the downtime to work on maintenance of the reserve, which will also include improvement to the facilities in order to enhance the visitor experience.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi has always carried out groundbreaking work in the emirate, including pioneering projects in environmental protection and conservation.

Team Yalla is excited to return to the reserve in winter, but till then, continue to stay informed about the environment with Yalla’s recommended list of documentaries.

Abu Dhabi is no stranger to wildlife.

In September 2020, we reported how one of the world’s rarest birds had been spotted on Saadiyat Beach Golf Course.

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