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  • Writer's pictureAlly Landes

THE WORLD SEA TURTLE DAY RELEASE


The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project released 100 critically endangered turtles including Beau, a large 50kg male amputee Loggerhead Turtle from the Burj Al Arab’s Jumeirah beach to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day on the 16th of June. Beau was the second amputee to be released back into the wild since Al Ouda’s – the large 120kg female Green Turtle – successful release back in April. Beau was also fitted with a satellite tag to monitor his movements through his new adaptation. His right flipper had to be amputated after it had been severely damaged from what was thought to have happened from being tangled in nets.


Beau, 50kg male amputee Loggerhead Turtle

Five juvenile turtles were also fitted with small satellite tags to record their movements and collect the valuable data used to monitor the release following the medical course implemented by the DTRP team during their rehabilitation.



The tags don’t stay on long on juvenile turtles due to their fast growth rate. The glue holding the tags onto the carapaces eventually crack and break off as the shells take on their new form. The tags’ batteries are made to only last 90 days, and although this is a short period of time, the juvenile turtles’ journeys are just as import as those of the adults.


These 5 small tags were sponsored by the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. The five juvenile turtles were of three different species. One Loggerhead named Cousteau, two Greens, Alpha and Angelo, and two Hawksbills, Ali and Pawee. It is the first time juvenile Loggerheads and Greens have been tagged in the region.


Cousteau, the Loggerhead
One of the two Greens
Ali and Pawee, the two Hawksbills

All the turtles rescued and brought in to the DTRP are either done so by members of the public or conservation organisations, and all turtles come from UAE shores. The most common are the critically endangered juvenile Hawksbill Turtle and the endangered Green Turtle. There are a number of reasons for the turtles’ demise which includes the effects from cold waters during the winter months of December to February, the ingestion of plastic rubbish polluting the waters, and boat injuries.



Warren Baverstock, Burj al Arab’s Aquarium Operations Manager said, “We are very proud to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day today by releasing more rehabilitated sea turtles back to their environment. We are especially grateful to the local community and organisations such as TDIC and the Emirates Marine Environmental Group that found a lot of these sick and injured turtles and took the time and trouble to get them to us so we were able to get them well again. We are also very happy to have worked with the Dubai Aquarium this year where for the period of 90 days, they assisted us with the final stages of rehabilitating these five critically endangered tagged sea turtles. Due to the large number of visitors that went to see these turtles at the aquarium, we were able reach out to more people than ever and generate awareness about turtle conservation. Today, we have released those five turtles with special satellite tracking technology which was provided by the Dubai Aquarium to support our ongoing turtle tracking initiative. This technology will allow us to continue tracking these turtles’ progress once back out in their environment as well as allowing us to develop the important picture of a young turtle’s journey in this region. We encourage everyone to join in on tracking their journey and updates can be observed on our Facebook page.”


ABOUT THE DUBAI TURTLE REHABILITATION PROJECT

The project impacts the national, regional and international sea turtle populations by increasing the number of animals in the environment that would have otherwise perished. Only one out of 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will reach sexual maturity. By saving these animals and releasing them back into the wild, the DTRP are increasing the chances of the number of turtles that could possibly reach the breeding age.


The DTRP is based at the Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah and 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.


For more information about the DTRP, visit www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation or if you find a sick or injured sea turtle, call the DTRP team on +971 4 301 7198.


The satellite tagged turtles can be followed up on www.seaturtle.org.

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