Published on : Friday, December 6, 2013
The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) has successfully rehabilitated and released seven endangered sea turtles, including five critically endangered hawksbills back into the wild. The initiative is based at Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah in conjunction with the Wildlife Protection Office and is the only project of its kind in the Middle East and Red Sea region. Essential veterinary services are provided by Dubai Falcon Clinic and Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.
The Big Jumeirah Sea Turtle Race is a fun initiative that aims to inform the public about the plight of the sea turtle, while collecting valuable information about the animals after they are released.
Seven sea turtles, rescued by members of the public and nursed back to health by the DTRP team, were fitted with satellite transmitters, each one sponsored by a Jumeirah property, and then released back into the wild from the beach at Madinat Jumeirah. (Watch video footage here)
The two loggerheads named Mojah and Joey and five critically endangered hawksbills named Seabiscuit, Noor, Mashuwa, Jameel and Shadeed will be tracked and vital information gathered about regional sea turtle biology.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the hawksbill turtle has seen an 87% decline in population over the last three decades with only an estimated 8,000 nesting females left in the world.
Hotel sponsors included Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Kuwait’s Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa.
Warren Baverstock, Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Operations Manager, said: “From our tagging initiative we have seen that turtles can undertake massive journeys – one turtle once travelled an amazing 8600km in nine months almost reaching the coast of Thailand. This shows that our project not only affects these populations on a regional and national level but also on an international level. This initiative enables us to investigate the success of our rehabilitation protocols and integration of the animals back into the wild. The tags also allow us to compare habitat, temperature choice and migration patterns for each species, information which is crucial for the formulation of conservation plans.”
Weekly updates of the turtles’ escapades and distances travelled will be provided by Jumeirah’s aquarium team and shared on social media (https://www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation) and in the press. The race will conclude on Friday 14 March 2014 when the turtle which travelled the greatest distance will be revealed as the winner and the hotel sponsor will be presented with a special turtle trophy.Since 2004, the project has successfully released over 562 rescued sea turtles and in 2011 alone over 350 sick or injured sea turtles were treated by the DTRP. The turtles were all rescued by members of the public and environmental groups throughout 2013 and nursed back to health by the Burj Al Arab’s aquarium team.
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