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  • Writer's pictureAlly Landes


The Dubai Turtle Rehabiliation Project (DTRP) have done it again. In conjunction with TDIC, 10 rehabilated sea turtles were successfully released back into the wild in Abu Dhabi from the beautiful location of the Saadiyat Beach Club on the 20th of April. Nine of the turtles were critically endangered juvenile hawksbill turtles, and the star of the event – fitted with a special tracking device sponsored by the Burj Al Arab Aquarium – was a large, 120kg adult female green turtle, named Al Ouda, that had lost one of her front flippers after a collision with a boat’s propeller. Tracking an amputee turtle has never been attempted before in this region. Al Ouda is the first to render her behaviour after release to investigate how such animals integrate back into the wild and whether it will be possible to release others like her.

Al Ouda (which means old lady in Arabic), was found stranded on a beach in September 2015 and brought to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project by the Emirates Marine Environmental Group. Al Ouda had suffered a massive trauma from a boat propeller which resulted in the amputation of her right flipper and extensive damage to the carapace. When she had been brought in, she only weighed in at 104kg, was suffering from massive infections to the wounds and debilitation, and was so weak, she was not able to lift her head. After several months of tirelessly working with her to get her eating again and treat her ailments, Al Ouda started to get well again and started putting on a lot of weight. She added more weight on during her journey and has so far travelled a total of 740km, last spotted 3km north west off the coast of the UAE and 255km from Manama.

All of the sea turtles released had been rescued by the TDIC team in Abu Dhabi and had been brought in to the DTRP where they had been treated over the winter months for their various ailments, the majority of which were related to the colder water temperatures experienced during the UAE’s cooler months.

The DTRP have been tracking green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles in the region since 2005. The tag fitted on Al Ouda by the team, not only monitors location but also transmits information on the temperature the turtle experiences. It is hoped that through her release and tracking, that awareness will also be raised about the plight of the region’s sea turtles and the threats they face in the wild. Anyone interested in following Al Ouda’s daily journey may do so at

Based at Burj Al Arab, 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. To date they have released over 860 sea turtles back into the wild after rehabilitation.

For more information about the DTRP, please visit:

or if you find a sick or injured sea turtle, please call the DTRP team on +971 4 301 7198.

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