Protected and living in its natural habitat, The Wetlands allows visitors to feed the ducks and get to watch 198 species of bird soaring through natural vegetation against a backdrop of desert skies. The Wasit Wetlands are 4.5 sq km of salt plains on the outskirts of Sharjah that serve as a sanctuary for local and migrating birds.
The area was once a swampy wasteland, it was cleaned up in 2007 and a sanctuary was created for protected species soon after. Now, it is also a sanctuary to birdwatchers, who gather creating a spectacle at a natural sight and a species hardly found anywhere else in the UAE. Kids can have a great day, with the opportunity to admire exotic looking birds, learn about nature, and play about in some wet mud too. The wetlands provides a comprehensive ecosystem, which comprises coastal sand dunes and salt flats, ponds and a lake that is maintained by an outpouring of underground water. The trees provides purified air and eliminates harmful gases and dust. Increasing the ratio of oxygen and reduction of the greenhouse effect aids the habitat for its frequent migrating and rare birds and ensuring they have nice clean air to breathe. Visitors can see ibis and herons, the centre is home to flamingos, pelicans, ducks, harriers and many other species, protected yet free to spread their wings in their natural habitat.
The Centre has been providing a getaway for visitors of all ages since it opened its doors to the public in 2015. Created into the sand dunes, bird-watchers can witness activities and one can relax in the cosy café offering breath-taking views over the Lagoon Aviary along with a cup of tea. Complimentary buggies are made available and binoculars are also provided to properly witness the area and watch birds.
Hana Al Suwaidi, chairperson of the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority, says: “The centre aims to educate people on the birds and it offers its facilities to the public and researchers. “It contains eight bird aviaries, each providing detailed information and signboards about the birds that frequent the area.”
Wasit Wetlands also used as an educational centre where people can learn about the different species, their eating habits, their habitat and how to recognise them with their feathers. Educational events are conducted for schools and groups of children, and families can tour the centre, play games relaxing and enjoying a fun day out.
Arabia’s Wildlife Centre was established on 1999 by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, the Ruler of Sharjah. Considered to be the very first learning centre, it is located in a protected area. Guides are available for walking tours.
Sun – Thurs: 09:00 – 18:.30
Fri: 14:30 – 18:30
Sat: 11:00 -18:30; Sun closed.
Wasit Wetland Centre
Arabia’s Wildlife Centre
Al Batayeah – Al Dhaid Road
Interchange 9 – Sharjah
Sharjah – United Arab Emirates.
Tel.: +971 6 531 1999, +971 6 531 1501
Fax: +971 6 531 1419
Photo courtesy: www.epaashj.ae
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