An adventuresome flamingo that was tagged in Abu Dhabi has migrated an exceptional 1300 kilometres all the way to Iran. Last year, in November, the flamingo was one of the ten released from Al Wathba Wetland Reserve and the Bul Syayeef Marine Protected Area off the Abu Dhabi coast.
Being known as the “Birdathon”, the project was brought up by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, in order to raise awareness about the significance of wetlands.
The ten were accredited to Abu Dhabi government bodies and the flamingo which represented Abu Dhabi Police won the race that came to an end on 31st March. Being labelled as “Flamingo 5”, it was tagged at Al Wathba.
The second place was enjoyed by Etihad Airways’ flamingo named Amelia. Ethiad Airways’ flamingo travelled over 200km to the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai. The third place was taken by Abu Dhabi Airports Company’s “Flamingo 8”, which stayed in Abu Dhabi and covered a distance of 142km.
Since 2005, the EAD has been tagging and tracking the movement of greater flamingos through the help of satellite tracking programme. Every winter, thousands of flamingos return back to the UAE, with around 4,000 spending the season at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve that has become the only site in the Arabian Gulf where these birds breed regularly.
Al Wathba is one of the nine “wetlands of international importance” in the UAE. It is also known as Ramsar sites, after the Iranian city where the convention on international standards was reached in 1971.
The reserve is the home to over 260 birds apart from the flamingo, 320 invertebrates, 35 plants, 16 reptiles and 10 mammal species. Last year, 601 flamingo chicks incubated at the reserve – the highest number ever recorded till now. The site is also present on the “green list of protected and conserved areas” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Al Wathba will remain close for the visitors from 1st May and will reopen in October. At least 7,000 people visited this place.