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Abu Dhabi uses conservation drones to monitor important species
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Abu Dhabi uses conservation drones to monitor important species

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The drones will capture footage of difficult to reach areas while verifying species numbers without making close contact with the birds. EAD will also benefit from the accuracy of the unmanned aerial vehicle's images of the breeding birds, as well as providing a data collection method that is both cost and time effective.

Commenting on the usage of drones, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD's Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity, said, "Drones are the future of conservation and conservation is impossible without adequate field data. Think of drones as airborne robots, able to access the difficult to reach areas, while minding environmental sensitivities through the minimisation of human presence. EAD has a wide-range of mapping and tracking technologies used in the field, and the use of drones to monitor flamingo numbers is yet another addition to a repertoire of technological tools we are using to better understand and protect biodiversity in Abu Dhabi." A common visitor to the U.A.E., the Greater Flamingo can be observed all year round in lagoons and mudflats along the coast. One of the major wetlands in Abu Dhabi protected and monitored by EAD, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is home to the first successful breeding grounds of the Greater Flamingo population in the Arabian Peninsula. Earlier last year, the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve was internationally declared as a Ramsar site, joining a list of more than 2,000 acclaimed wetlands around the world.

Coastal mudflats have long been recognised as important habitats for many species of water birds including flamingos. Several coastal and inland sites used by tagged flamingos are priority sites for conservation and EAD's satellite tracking studies provide strong support to the view that management and conservation of flamingos and also other water birds depend on the protection of entire coastal and inland wetland complex rather than few isolated sites. As key wetlands used by flamingos are within different emirates locally, it highlights the need for greater inter-emirate cooperation.

Understanding movement and migration patterns of important species is essential for the overall conservation of species and the key sites they use. Through research and the investment in new technology that further the work conducted by the EAD, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is able to make continuous strides towards sustainable living, placing biodiversity conversation at the forefront of its agenda.












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