Dubai, 16 June 2015: Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, celebrated World Sea Turtle Day with the release of 45 endangered sea turtles into the Arabian Gulf next to Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
The 45 turtles were rescued from the shores of the UAE and nursed back to health by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (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 rescued to 800 since the project began in 2004.
Five of the juvenile hawksbill turtles were recently exhibited at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall to highlight the threat faced by this critically endangered species. Prior to their release into the Arabian Gulf, they were fitted with small satellite tags, sponsored by the Dubai Aquarium, to support the ongoing turtle tracking initiative. The turtles’ names are Balsam, Tara, Zoe, Jumeirah and Nawfal and can be tracked online via seaturtle.org
This technology will allow the DTRP to track their progress in the wild and enable the team to develop a picture of a young turtle’s journey in the region. Everyone is encouraged to track the turtles and check for updates on the Dubai Aquarium and the DTRP Facebook pages.
Warren Baverstock, Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Operations Manager, said: “We are very proud to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day by releasing more rehabilitated sea turtles back into their environment. We are especially gratefully to the local community and organisations such as the Tourism Development & Investment Company and the Emirates Marine Environmental Group who brought many of the injured turtles to us so we were able to rehabilitate them. This year, we worked with the Dubai Aquarium team who assisted us with the final stages of rehabilitation of five critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Due to the large number of visitors who saw the turtles at the aquarium, we were able to generate greater awareness about turtle conservation.”
The project accepts any distressed turtle, but the most common turtles found in the Arabian Gulf are the critically endangered hawksbill and the endangered green sea turtle. The majority of rescued turtles are juvenile hawksbills, which are found washed up on the Gulf coastline during the winter months of December, January and February suffering from the adverse effects of cold sea temperatures. Other common aliments include ingesting plastic rubbish and injuries sustained from boats.
Sea turtles live in oceans throughout the world and spend their entire lives at sea – only coming onto shore if they are injured or ready to nest. Adult females nest and lay eggs often on tropical and subtropical beaches every 2-5 years. Both green turtles and hawksbills nest in the UAE, along the coast and on offshore islands. Guests at Jumeirah Dhevanafushi in the Maldives were fortunate to witness this rare phenomenon earlier in the year. A green turtle was spotted on the resort and nested near to the beach bungalows. After about sixty days, the baby sea turtles, known as hatchlings, were seen making their way into the Indian Ocean.
Based at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Madinat Jumeirah, 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.
Notes to Editors:
The project’s tagging initiative once tracked a turtle that travelled an amazing 8600km in nine months almost reaching the coast of Thailand. This shows the project not only affects these populations on a regional and national level but also on an international level. The tags also allow the team to compare habitat, temperature choice and migration patterns for each species, information which is crucial for the formulation of conservation plans. 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.
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 1000 sea turtle hatchlings will reach sexual maturity. By saving these animals and releasing them back into the wild we are increasing the chances of the number of turtles that could possibly reaching breeding age. The DTRP is based at 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. http://www.jumeirah.com/turtles
About Jumeirah Group:
Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hotel company and a member of Dubai Holding, operates a world-class portfolio of hotels and resorts including the flagship Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts manages properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Kuwait in the Middle East; Baku, Bodrum, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Mallorca (Spain) and Rome in Europe; the Maldives and Shanghai in Asia. Jumeirah Group also runs the luxury serviced residences brand Jumeirah LivingTM with properties in London and Dubai; the new contemporary lifestyle hotel brand VenuTM; the wellness brand TaliseTM; Jumeirah Restaurant Group DubaiTM; Wild Wadi WaterparkTM; The Emirates Academy of Hospitality ManagementTM; and SiriusTM, its global loyalty programme. Future openings include luxury and lifestyle hotels in China, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Russia and the UAE. www.jumeirah.com
For further information please contact:
Jumeirah Group Corporate Communications
Director of External Communications
PO Box 73137, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Visit us at: www.jumeirah.com