The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi Provides Home to two Manatees and initiates conservation project in West Africa: A Tale of Safeguarding their Species

National Aquarium

A Collaborative Endeavour supported by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the African Aquatic Conservation Fund

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 04 April, 2024: The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi has warmly embraced two African Manatees into their new home, to become the first ambassadors for their species in the region. African Manatee are extremely rare, with only a few facilities worldwide hosting them. The National Aquarium, meticulously designed according to the highest international standards, provides the Manatees with an environment closest to their natural habitat in Africa.

This initiative reflects a broader commitment to advancing marine conservation efforts and forging appreciation for the marvels of aquatic life.

The transfer journey of the two male Manatees from their previous home in an aquarium in Seoul, Korea, was accompanied by a team of specialists, reflecting Abu Dhabi’s National Aquarium's commitment to excellence in adhering to international safety standards and implementing all the necessary medical and safety protocols with meticulous care. The wondrous Manatees were closely monitored throughout their trip, ensuring their comfort and welfare at every step.

In addition to their crucial role as ambassadors for their species and contributors to vital conservation efforts, the two African Manatees are poised to become beloved icons, captivating the hearts of visitors with their gentle nature and fascinating behavior. Their presence offers a unique opportunity for the public to connect with these magnificent creatures on a personal level, fostering a deeper appreciation for marine life and the importance of conservation. As visitors marvel at the beauty of the Manatees and learn about their species from the Aquarium's knowledgeable experts, they are not only entertained but also inspired to become stewards of our oceans.

The National Aquarium has provided a nurturing environment for the Manatees that closely reflects their natural habitat. Remarking on the care provided, Paul Robert Hamilton, General Manager, The National Aquarium mentioned: "Our commitment to following international standards guarantees that these magnificent creatures are thriving in an atmosphere that prioritizes their safety, happiness, and overall well-being.”

In alignment with its broader mission of promoting marine conservation and raising awareness about vulnerable species, the National Aquarium Abu Dhabi has generously contributed to the African Aquatic Conservation Fund to support projects focused on preserving manatees in West Africa. Additionally, the aquarium will be selling hand-made items crafted by African artisans, with a portion of proceeds managed through the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund in a partnership with the African Aquatic Conservation Fund to support conservation of the species in their natural environment.

Complementing its financial contributions, the National Aquarium is actively engaged in educational programs designed to inform and inspire visitors and the public about marine conservation. Through these initiatives, the aquarium aims to foster a deeper understanding of the importance of protecting our oceans and the diverse species that inhabit them.

Paul Hamilton, General Manager of the National Aquarium, emphasized the significance of the institution's research efforts in understanding and conserving African manatees. He highlighted the dedicated team of specialists and researchers who have been studying the behavior and ecology of these remarkable creatures. The insights gleaned from this research will play a crucial role in developing effective conservation strategies to safeguard the future of African manatees in their natural habitats.

"The MBZ Fund is thrilled to partner with the National Aquarium and the African Aquatic Conservation Fund on this exciting initiative. This collaboration enables crucial financial support from Abu Dhabi for the conservation of the special and highly threatened West African manatee in its natural habitat. Through this partnership, we aim to fund conservation projects and build local capacity to ensure the long-term protection of this unique species." declared Nicolas Heard, Acting Director General of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

Commenting on their collaboration with the National Aquarium on this significant conservation project, Lucy Keith-Diagne, Executive Director of the African Aquatic Conservation Fund remarked: “I am pleased to announce a fruitful collaboration between the African Aquatic Conservation Fund and the National Aquarium Abu Dhabi aimed at protecting marine life. This partnership reflects our steadfast commitment to biodiversity conservation and the preservation of crucial marine environments. We consider the National Aquarium in Abu Dhabi a valuable partner in this joint effort and look forward to achieving positive outcomes that benefit marine ecosystems and the communities involved in the region and beyond.”

The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi will welcome the public from the first day of Eid Al Fitr to witness firsthand the captivating beauty of the Manatees and marvel at their uniqueness while gaining insightful education about their species from the Aquarium’s onsite experts. Emphasizing the paramount importance of fostering a sustainable future for our oceans and highlighting the pivotal role each individual can play in safeguarding our planet.