Abu Dhabi: The UAE is set to welcome one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the region, part of a newly announced partnership between the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) and The National Aquarium — the largest aquarium in the Middle East.
Located at Al Qana, the rehabilitation centre will be staffed by a team of international veterinary and aquarist experts from 15 countries, with the facility set to help treat and look after hundreds of recused animals every year.
The agreement will also see the launch of the first ever specialised animal rescue vehicle, which will operate like a medical ambulance but for animals instead, responding to wildlife emergencies reported through EAD.
The new rehabilitation centre will also have educational programmes for the public, and in particular young children, providing them with the opportunity of visiting the animals during their pre-release phase.
“Our mission is to protect and preserve the marine ecosystems and the new rehabilitation facility staffed with The National Aquarium’s world-class team of experts is an important addition to reach our goal and protect species that are threatened with extinction,” said Maitha Hameli, specialist at EAD.
“We are confident in the quality and readiness of the facilities at the rehabilitation centre. When a call came in regarding an endangered sea turtle, we conducted the rescue and carefully transported her to The National Aquarium’s rehabilitation facility for assessment,” she added.
First hand perspective
Anne Bourbon, manager of education and conservation at the National Aquarium, said the opportunity to raise awareness among the public through the centre would give them a first hand perspective on the rescued animals.
“Education is an essential part of the process of connecting the young and adults alike with the stories of these rescued animals. The first and most recently rescued turtle was brought to us by EAD and we can’t wait for the public to meet her and learn her story,” she added.
As for the facility itself, Beatriz Maquieira, curator at the National Aquarium, said the rehabilitation centre would have a state-of-the-art system ready to look after all rescued animals.
“Our facilities are fully equipped with the latest technology. We have the animals hospital, ICU, and rehabilitation rooms for both marine and small terrestrial animals alike, all this with the support of experienced aquarists and vets.”