Miral, the leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, has announced the opening of the first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
A 8,602-sq-metre facility, the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue, will be a key contributor to marine-life conservation in both the UAE and the wider region by conducting integrated research, rescue, rehabilitation, return and education programmes.
The centre will have over 25 rescue pools, from large pools for marine mammals to smaller pools for fish, invertebrates and marine reptiles.
Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue aims to rescue sick, injured and orphaned marine animals in the Arabian Gulf and to provide life-saving rehabilitation with the goal of returning healthy animals back to their natural habitats.
To facilitate this goal, the centre will have a fleet of rescue vehicles that includes two custom-made rescue boats and a state-of-the art veterinary hospital for triage of animals in critical condition.
Of the larger pools, two of them are equipped with lifting floors, which will make access for treatment easier and less disruptive for the animals. An on-site lab at the centre is also equipped with advanced rescue and rehabilitation capabilities including the ability to conduct in-house pathology analysis for wildlife.
It will also focus on applied research studies for marine ecosystem restoration with aquaculture-based projects including fish propagation, seagrass cultivation, coral reproduction as well as field projects focusing on critical habitats of Arabian Gulf waters such as seagrass, mangroves, oyster beds and coral reefs.
This research will only be made possible through some of the best subject matter researchers and scientists and by utilising the state-of-the-art laboratories and infrastructure of the centre, including three dry laboratories, a wet laboratory, and a 345 cu m aquaculture facility which includes live feed culture rooms, brood stock pools and larvae culture pools.
The centre's research team will conduct most of these studies by use of its 12.5 m research vessel decked with the latest field equipment.
The launch was held in the presence of Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, and Chairman of Miral Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, and other senior representatives from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
The centre's efforts will aim to improve the public’s knowledge and commitment to the conservation of the region’s marine wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems, leveraging the experience and knowledge gained from SeaWorld’s nearly 60 years of marine animal care, rescue, rehabilitation and conservation to the region.
Commenting on this milestone, Al Mubarak said: "This is a cornerstone in the emirate’s journey of education and conservation, inspiring the next generation of marine scientists to learn more about Abu Dhabi’s impactful long-term vision of protecting our marine wildlife and their habitats. Together with SeaWorld, we will be pushing the limits of science and conservation to become the foremost knowledge hub for marine scientists, not only in the UAE, but also in the wider region."
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Chairman Scott Ross expressed delight at its partnership with Miral in bringing this first-of-its-kind centre to the UAE.
"For nearly 60 years, SeaWorld has maintained its unwavering mission and steadfast commitment to protecting marine animals and their ecosystems and inspiring others to act and care for marine life. Extending this legacy here in the UAE is important for global conservation and is consistent with the UAE and wider region’s tradition of honouring the importance of the sea," he added.