Media platforms are a powerful tool to attract views.
These platforms can be used in a variety of ways and promoting ecotourism is one such way. For example, one happens to discover most of the new and nature-based places in and around the UAE thanks to such media articles.
Al Jubail Mangrove Sanctuary
This is just how we came across the latest attraction of Al Jubail Island Mangrove Park, just off the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Clear signage and directions lead you to the place, but beware as it is quite crowded during the weekends as it a new find.
Nevertheless, surrounded by mangroves and with clear wooden pathways, this place stands apart and is a delight for visitors of all ages. It is refreshing and calm, with shades of ocean blue and evergreen covering over a million square meters of the sanctuary. Mangroves are known for their strength and resilience growing in salty waters, absorbing carbon emissions and providing protection against floods. More about the variety of interesting features of mangroves in my other article – https://bit.ly/2wJnFPo.
Looking at it for a sustainable perspective, I was glad for the tall perched wooden stilts, boardwalk and lookout towers built across the island that allows visitors to enjoy the captivating views while leaving the nature untouched. The crystal clear water with tiny fish and even crabs were a pleasant surprise for adults and kids alike.
At certain places, the ‘Beach tower’ allowed visitors to get their feet wet, which though an added attraction, may pose problems to the habitat if visitor awareness is not raised and any improper behavior not properly monitored and controlled. The security cameras and personnel can be found at intervals along the boardwalk and hope to maintain control over habitat protection.
Markings & Biodiversity
The long winding boardwalk was aptly marked with signage for three different routes and educational boards at junctions about the biodiversity surrounding the area eases the mind of curious visitors such as myself.
I was glad to spot various fish some even eye-catching translucent ones and crabs, however, I expected to have had a larger number of birds swooping around a habitat such as the mangroves which was absent during my visit. On the bright sunny day that we visited, the only birds I spotted were two herons perched on the seabed. Hope is tied on watching more such diverse bird species during the hour-long kayak ride available at the Park, which I plan on riding during my next visit.
Jubail Mangrove History
While some mangroves were mature, at places one could see tiny roots peeking from within the loose white sand of the sea bed, questioning the origin of the mangroves. Interestingly, the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi reports that the emirate has over 72 sq km of natural mangrove habitat based on their studies, holding the rank in the second largest mangrove habitat in the region. The work of the department and Ministry are to be commended as some mangroves we see today are part of the 800,000 mangrove rehabilitation project that was from 2009-2011.
Today, with the mega Jubail Development of property on the island ongoing, one urges the development continues in harmony with nature, ensuring proper environmental protection is in place during the construction and occupancy phase with the inclusion of the local community.
The Jubail Mangrove Park has provided an insight into the depth and width biodiversity in this region and I am happy to highlight such places through my articles.