Name of organisation
SHARJAH ENVIRONMENT AND PROTECTED AREAS AUTHORITY
Number of staff
Number of visitors per year
43,211 in 2023
Overall aims of the centre
Leadership and excellence in environmental activity to provide environmental resources of scientific value useful to society in accordance with international environmental rules and standards.
Description of the centre
Total Area:0.86 km2.
Natural lake maintained by the upwelling of underground water. The most distinguished feature of the reserve is the diverse ecosystem since it has different habitats and types of vegetation, compromising coastal sand dunes, along with salt flat (Sabkhas) linking ponds and a large open lake.
In addition to its rich biodiversity, including 198 different species of birds, as well as the great diversity of small mammals, reptiles and insects. Rare species of insects have been spotted, and they were recorded for the first time in the UAE.
Hosting over 60 species of resident and migratory birds, it offers unique viewing opportunities across large aviaries and from multiple hides located around the site.
Main CEPA work area
The center also contributes to supporting university students and researchers in the environmental field with any environmental information derived from the biodiversity in the reserve. Wasit Wetland Center is one of
the developed educational systems in the Emirate of Sharjah. The visitor learns in an environment rich in nature and various educational resources, all of which revolve around how to preserve migratory and resident birds in
their different environments. As well as providing periodic awareness campaigns towards preserving wetlands and natural habitats and towards migratory birds, whether inside or outside the reserve.
Current awareness campaigns:
- Keep it safe campaign:
Intensifying awareness against the use of plastic in everyday things. Raising awareness and understanding of the importance of preserving migratory birds. Protecting birds from the daily dangers they are exposed to inside and outside their natural environment.
- Wetland campaign for better biodiversity
Campaign to clean the reserve to maintain rehabilitation operations. The participation of school students and a great turnout to contribute to maintaining the cleanliness of the reserve and its lakes from pollutants that appear as a result of increased rains during the year, thus preserving the safety of birds.
- Water bottle for less plastic campaign
Campaign to reduce the use of plastic
The participation of a number of delegations and visitors, and a great turnout to contribute to preserving the environment, and many accepted the idea of the campaign to replace plastic water bottles with reusable metal containers.
Top three successes
- The educational center is the first of its kind for wet environments at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and it comes within the projects adopted by the Emirate of Sharjah, to enhance its
position as the capital of Arab tourism for the year 2015.
- The “Global Ramsar Convention 2019” approved Wasit Nature Reserve on the list of wetlands of global importance, in appreciation of the efforts of the Environment and Natural Reserves Authority in Sharjah and its specialized teams in wetlands.
- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2019.
Top three challenges
Creating signage / site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre
Working with disabled people; Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; Running effective administration
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