A local environmental organisation has been recognised as a leader in global conservation efforts for migratory species with two key awards.
Presented at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) won two Champion Plus prizes for its long-term commitment to migratory local dugong and bird of prey populations.
With the world’s second largest dugong population on our shores, the organisation has been fighting to protect the vulnerable species since 1999, tracking population size and movement, promoting awareness of conservation of local seagrass beds where dugong feed and reducing the use of illegal fishing nets.
On land, the UAE is an important destination for millions of migratory birds including 38 species of raptor, and EAD has pledged its commitment to protecting the animals since 2009, fighting urban development that threatens overall survival and tracking movements throughout the seasons.
Commenting on the win, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary general at EAD, noted that international cooperation is key in ongoing protection efforts: “Our environment is home to dozens of species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and two to three million birds pass through the UAE each year on their migration from the heart of Asia southwards to Africa, or eastwards to India and beyond.
“We have long understood that what happens to migratory wildlife in other countries directly affects the UAE’s success in protecting species while they reside in, or pass through, its territory,” she added.
“No matter how committed and well-resourced our country may be, long-term conservation of migratory animals can only be achieved by engaging with other countries through international cooperation and closely coordinating conservation activities across each species’ range.”