United Arab Emirates names Wasit Nature Reserve as a Ramsar Site

United Arab Emirates names Wasit Nature Reserve as a Ramsar Site

27 August 2019
United Arab Emirates

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Wasit Nature Reserve

The United Arab Emirates has designated Wasit Nature Reserve as its tenth Wetland of International Importance. Located some 15 kilometres from the coast and the city of Sharjah, the Reserve (Ramsar Site no. 2386) is a complex of natural inland lake and wetland habitats with a total area of 86 hectares. It is a unique lake which represents a part of the remaining endangered coastal habitats: it was formerly a tidal lagoon, providing important evidence of the evolution of the coastline.

The Site supports a rich diversity of wetland species. Its mudflats, lakes, dunes, reed beds and woody thickets support a range of plants, and at least 144 bird species including many migrants. There are several near-threatened species such as curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) and the globally vulnerable Socotra cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis).

The reserve, owned by the government of Sharjah Emirate, was declared a National Protected Area in 2004. A visitor centre was established in November 2015 for education, public awareness and ecotourism.