Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri with EAD team during the launch of Abu Dhabi Nature App at Gitex-1665640414998
The Abu Dhabi Nature App launch ceremony at GITEX. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Residents can now report sightings of unique wildlife and plants in Abu Dhabi through a new dedicated platform called Abu Dhabi Nature, the emirate’s environment sector regulator has announced.

The platform was launched by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), and is available both as a smartphone app and a dedicated website. The free tool currently includes information about 4,000 species of plants and animals that can be found in the emirate.

Rare sightings

Residents have previously reported sightings of exotic animals in the UAE, including Arabian red foxes on Reem Island and gazelles on Saadiyat Island in 2022, and killer whales and whale sharks in Abu Dhabi waters in the past. In addition, avid birdwatchers regularly report sightings of rare species on dedicated websites.

Key features

A key feature – Citizen Science – allows registered users to submit photographs or video of any species spotted in the wild. An EAD team of experts will review each submission using the exat GPS details submitted, and add any new species or habitats to the database.

The database combines videos, audio, images and information, including brief descriptions of each species, and their size, colour, habitat, taxonomic classification, and sightings in the emirate. There is information about protected areas and ecotourism sites in Abu Dhabi. In addition, users can sight various species within Abu Dhabi using the EAD’s previous sightings.

A special feature allows users to ask an expert about the environment, with responses provided by EAD professionals.

Environmental awareness

“The launch of Abu Dhabi Nature is a significant milestone in EAD’s efforts to promote environmental awareness and educate the public on the diverse species present in the emirate. Anyone with a smartphone can now contribute to species conservation and documentation efforts in Abu Dhabi. The platform also provides a great way to educate children and youth about the nature around us, and encourage a love of the environment at a young age,” said Ahmed Baharoon, executive director for environmental information, science and outreach management at the EAD.

“With our ‘Public Forum’ feature, this app will also be an essential tool for us to connect with the community and share our wealth of knowledge about the environment," he added.