Hawar Islands Reserve
The Cabinet of Bahrain issued Resolution N. (16) of 1996 designating Hawar islands and the territorial sea surrounding them a protected area, according to the provisions of Law No (2) of 1995 on wildlife protection. In the same year, Ministerial Edict No (6) on forming a national committee on activating and managing the 340.04 Km2 Hawar Islands Protected Areas.
The Hawar Islands Reserve is approximately 26 kilometers southeast of Ras El Bar, the island of Bahrain. It is an archipelago consist of 16 desert islands and islets. The maximum length of the largest island, Hawar, is about 17 kilometers, and maximum width 3 kilometers, while its maximum height is 19 meters. However, the importance of the Hawar Islands is that they are among the few places that have not been tangibly covered the urbanization process, so they are characterized by their pristine environment, beautiful landscape, natural geographical distribution and unique species.
The Hawar Islands have attracted many species of birds that live and breed at different times, because of their geographical distance and different heights. Indeed, the islands are home to the largest colony in of the Socotra cormorant birds, locally known as “Allooh”, whose number has reached about 25,000 in the South Suwad Island. Studies indicate that the Socotra cormorant birds in the island represent between 20 and 25% of their world population, which proves the international importance of such islands.
The islands also host some other unique birds, such as the Osprey (or the fish eagle), living in the heights, and the Falcon concolor, which is an endangered rare bird which is taking refuge in Hawar Islands to breed and nest. It surrounded territorial waters contain the world largest Dugong aggregation. The Hawar Islands were listed among the reserves included in the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), which was ratified by the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1997.