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EAD and TOTAL partnering for Dugong Conservation

posted on 08/06/2015: 1528 views



The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, Total Abu Al Bukhoosh and Total E&P Golfe Limited have signed an agreement extending the sponsorship of EAD's Dugong Conservation Programme, which has been exclusively sponsored by TOTAL since 1999.

During the signing ceremony, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of EAD, said, "We are immensely proud to have the second largest population of marine mammal dugongs in the world. The UAE has international responsibilities to conserve this vulnerable species and its critical habitats."

She said, "Since 1999, thanks to the support of TOTAL, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi has conducted detailed studies of the local dugong population. Overall, these studies have helped us to better understand the dugongs. The first phase of these studies helped us obtain information about the abundance, distribution and the conservation status of dugongs in the UAE."

"The second and third phase helped us understand more about the biological and ecological status of dugongs and their habitats. Threats to the dugong population were identified by investigating causes of dugong mortality as well as habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss. Data has been collected including local movement patterns through satellite telemetry. In addition, Marine Protected Areas were monitored and regional cooperation with other entities working in dugong conservation enhanced," Al Mubarak added.

Hatem Nusibeh, Total UAE President, said, "Total is committed to create a better environment wherever it operates. In the UAE, and since 1999, our partnership with EAD has helped the Dugong conservation project grow. With emphasis on educating the local community, we are confident that this combined effort will prove successful to the continued growth of the Dugong population in the region. In addition, I would like to thank the EAD for its awareness campaigns targeted towards youth and student communities which are contributing to the long term protection plans for the region."

Amer Al Shaikh Ali, CEO, Total Abu Al Bukhoosh, said, "At Total Abu Al Bukhoosh, we are proud to be associated with EAD in the conservation of Dugong. We have considered it as one of our key social responsibility activities. We will continue our joint efforts with Total and EAD to protect conserve and manage Dugong habitats to maintain a healthy growth rate. Raising more awareness on Dugongs in the regions is therefore a significant challenge for their protection and we should strive to achieve this."

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector, said, "If the dugong, its habitat and other important wildlife species living therein are to survive and maintain their role as an important part of our environment, we need to ensure that we not only actually implement the conservation measures adopted, but also continue to remain alert by educating ourselves and enhancing our understanding on the requirements of the species across the entire region, including Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular and the Western Indian Ocean region in general."

She added, "Throughout their range, which includes at least 48 countries from East Africa to the Pacific Islands, dugongs are under pressure from a range of human activities. Dugongs are vulnerable to human-related influences due to their dependence on sea grasses that are restricted to coastal habitats, and which are often under increased pressure from human activities." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395281555370.html

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