Published on : Thursday, November 30, 2017
The turtles released were from three species, the loggerhead, green and hawksbill
sea turtle. Five of the turtles, named Aqua, Lucky, Spots, Oogie and Turtala,
were fitted with satellite linked tags, sponsored by the Dubai Aquarium and
Underwater Zoo (DAUZ). The tags will enable the teams to collect vital data
about their progress in the wild.
This release follows a collaborative programme which saw ten of the released turtles from the DTRP reside at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo for a few months during the hot summer months. This helped raise awareness of the regional plight of sea turtles and the threats they face. Four of these turtles were amputees, having lost a flipper due to entanglement in plastic. Discarded plastic is currently one of the largest threats to sea turtles, and the DTRP are currently focusing their satellite tagging research on these amputees to make sure that they can survive successfully after such an injury and, integrate back into the wild. Through the project, the DTRP team has satellite tagged over 55 sea turtles in the UAE.
The rehabilitated turtles were all rescued from the shores of the UAE and nursed back to health by the DTRP, one of the longest standing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in the region and the only project of its kind in the Middle East. The DTRP is at the forefront of sea turtle rehabilitation protocols and veterinary procedures. This latest release takes the total number of turtles treated and released to over 1,500 since the project began in 2004.
Warren Baverstock, Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Operations Manager, said: “We have rescued 290 turtles this year alone and are very proud to celebrate National Day by releasing 13 rehabilitated sea turtles back into their environment. We would like to thank everyone that has brought injured turtles to us so we were able to rehabilitate them.”
The DTRP is run in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office, with essential veterinary support provided by the Dubai Falcon Hospital and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. The day-to-day running of the project and the animal husbandry is managed by Burj Al Arab’s dedicated aquarium team.
Recently, the DTRP published results in the journal Plos One, forming the first scientific paper in the UAE to document the long term satellite tracking of Green Turtles. This paper shows that sea turtles can be successfully reintroduced into the wild after sustaining serious injuries and undergoing rehabilitation. This scientific paper is a massive achievement for the Jumeirah Group’s sea turtle conservation work, with the collation of nearly 12 years of green sea turtle tracking data.