We tell you where to go as a family to learn more about the country’s fascinating ecosystems.
Ambassadors of the Environment
This hands-on, educational programme has been developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society in partnership with select Ritz-Carlton and Reserve properties around the world, including in Dubai. Both children and adults are invited to engage with the world around them and understand how their actions now can have an impact on the planet in the future.
The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project
It’s based at Jumeirah Al Naseem and run in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office. The project has been running since 2004 and has been responsible for the release of more than 1,000 rescued sea turtles into Dubai’s waters. Part of its mission is to educate local children, residents and international hotel guests about sea turtle biology, as well as the regional and global plight of the creatures.
[ www.jumeirah.com ]
Emirates Environmental Group
Since 1991, this professional group of environmental enthusiasts has made it their mission to protect local wildlife, as well as launch a range of educational initiatives that promote conservation throughout the country. This includes drawing and public speaking competitions held in conjunction with UAE schools, plus workshops that pass on knowledge about sustainable development.
[ www.eeg-uae.org ]
Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
While this government agency focuses on a wide range of fantastic eco-initiatives, one aspect of their work includes preserving Abu Dhabi’s ecoreserves and inviting the public to explore these wildlife havens. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, for example, is a five-square-kilometre wetland that’s home to more than 250 species of birds and greater flamingos. Elsewhere, the Mangrove National Park is a habitat for all sorts of plants, aquatic species and bird life, where you can join a kayak tour or small boat safari with the whole family.
[ www.ead.ae ]
Sir Bani Yas Island
A trip to this island off Abu Dhabi is expensive, but if you have the means then it’s worth it. Not only do its three five-star hotels offer a spot of luxury, but the island is also an incredible introduction to the UAE’s natural landscape and wildlife. Available activities include a safari drive in which you can see more than 10,000 animals, including the Arabian oryx, gazelles and giraffes.
[ www.anantara.com ]