In 2014, the United Arab Emirates ranked 1st in the marine reserves index, compared to 33rd in 2012. This reflects the UAE’s efforts in the preservation of ecosystems. In 2018, the Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. The 2,000-hectare wetland includes the Ghantoot Marine Reserve, a coastal and marine area comprising coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and sandy beaches. The area supports over 300 species, including the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, the endangered mottled eagle ray, green turtle, Arabian gazelle, foxes, lizards and a variety of water birds. Access to the sanctuary and marine reserve are restricted. To visit the reserve, which is managed by the Emirates Marine Environmental Group, you can join one of their turtle releases, BBQs, mangrove plantings or clean-ups. Through these activities you can learn about the huge range of species found in these ecosystems, and how they are affected by our day-to-day activities. You may even meet some of the residents, including desert animals such as camels and gazelle, turtles and other sea animals, and wetland animals such as birds.