Ras Al Khor WildLife Sanctuary Visitor Centre (tentative name)
Funding support: Dubai Municipality
Number of staff: 10
Number of visitors per year: 11,000 – 12,000
Overall aims of the centre
Undertake studies and research to generate data for better management of the Sanctuary
Protect and restore the faunal and floral diversity, as well as natural abundance of individual species trough habitat conservation, management and restoration
Educate the community about natural heritage, general principles of conservation and the sustainable use of biological resources.
Develop and implementation of an ecotourism program in the wildlife area.
Description of the centre
Size of site: 620 hectares
Types of habitat: mangrove community , reed beds, mudflats, sabkha and lagoon.
Species supported: 270 species of fauna and 47 species of flora
Location of the site: At the end of the 14 km long Dubai creek and lying at the interface between the Arabian Gulf and the Al Awir Desert
Main CEPA work areas
Conducting annual seminars in connection with two international events: World Wetlands Day (2 Feb) and World Migratory Bird Day (May 11-12)
Provide lectures to schools and academic institutions/tour companies during scheduled excursions
Regular bird counting activities involving various stakeholders
Mangrove research and baseline studies
Ecological enhancements i.e.: sabkha scraping for permanent inundation to encourage presence of waders as well as enhance aesthetic value for the viewing experience of visitors from hides
Partnerships with the private sector in projects related to enhancing the ecological and aesthetic value of the sanctuary
Top three successes
1) Inclusion of Ras Al Khor WildLife Sanctuary as the first UAE Ramsar Site
2) Running the World Migratory Bird Day activities since 2007
3) Running the World Wetlands Day activities since UAE joined the Ramsar Convention, in 2007. These two events have become national events, and Ramsar sites in the country have increased to 4.
Top three challenges
1) Maintaining the ecological integrity of the sanctuary amidst the adjacent development projects
2) Increasing the level of awareness of constituency relative to wetland value
3) Maintaining the ecological balance of all conditions in the sanctuary.
With the dynamism the Sanctuary is experiencing, given its geographical location and the development projects that surrounds it, and how it has kept its ecological integrity is already a case to study. The strategies that are implemented to address the challenges and processes undertaken to achieve success, could act as source to create new information.
Creating signage/site information; Producing written materials; Using audio visual tools
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing/creating habitat; Building/maintaining structures
Engaging young people; Engaging hard-to-reach groups
Education and communication
Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Developing resources/materials