Abu Dhabi: A record 876 flamingo chicks were born during the 2020 breeding season at Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) said on Tuesday.
Last year, 714 chicks were raised from the same colony.
This year, flamingos began building their nests around March 15 when EAD scientists observed the first egg. The commencement of breeding in 2020 was almost two weeks ahead of schedule compared to 2019.
The 876 chicks born this season is the highest so far since the flamingos started breeding regularly at Al Wathba in 2011 — an increase of 22 per cent in 2020.
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, secretary-general of EAD said: “Continued breeding of flamingos in Al Wathba is a significant milestone in our efforts to protect our emirate’s biodiversity. News about the record numbers achieved during the COVID-19 movement restrictions is a positive indicator, especially when several activities have come to a standstill.”
Increased wildlife sightings have been reported from all around the world as a result of movement restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic. The successful breeding of flamingos in Abu Dhabi is another example that wildlife can benefit from reduced disturbances from human activity, she said.
“Flamingos are the flagship species of Al Wathba Reserve and their breeding is followed closely by people in the region. At the same time, breeding during the past decade has seen growing interest, with both the public and wildlife scientists monitoring their breeding patterns,” Dr Al Dhaheri said.
Al Wathba Wetland was declared a wildlife reserve in 1998 by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and established as a Protected Area after the first successful breeding of flamingos in the area.
It is the only site in the Arabian Peninsula where the birds have bred more than once. In April 2013, recognising the importance of this location, the reserve was selected as the first in Abu Dhabi to be designated as a Ramsar site and it has been identified as one of the important areas for avian habitation in the country. It has also been registered as an International Union for Conservation of Nature green site — an initiative that identifies protected and conserved areas that are effectively managed and well-governed.