A terrestrial aerial survey covering 25 percent of Abu Dhabi’s land mass has been completed for the first time in a bid to record wildlife and vegetation.
The survey, conducted by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), covered over 14,000 square kilometres, which included the areas of Baynounah, the Houbara Protected Area, the southwest corner of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the area east of the Liwa Crescent.
With the aim to record the population and distribution of large herbivores in Abu Dhabi and collect data on vegetation and other wildlife species such as birds and small mammals, the survey recorded sand gazelles, red foxes, Cape hares, Greater flamingos, falcons and more.
“Understanding the population size and mapping the species distribution are one of the first steps towards the development of an effective management regime for key animal populations,” explained Dr Salim Javed, acting director of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Division at EAD.
“Additionally, the aerial survey is an important in-house capacity building exercise for EAD’s team of young Emirati scientists.”
In the past, EAD has conducted aerial survey of marine environments to track dugong numbers, but this latest survey marks the first time such a project has been applied to a large terrestrial area in the emirate.