The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) has rehabilitated and returned 1,175 turtles into the Arabian Gulf since the project began in 2004
Dubai, 11 May 2017: A rare olive ridley sea turtle called Barnacle today checked out of Jumeirah Al Naseem’s turtle rehabilitation lagoon with more than 70 critically endangered hawksbill turtles who headed back home into the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Children from the Dubai British School purchased a special satellite tag for Barnacle which will enable them to track her progress online here. The kids were invited to the release learn more about the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) and wave the turtles off from the beach by Jumeirah Al Naseem.
Warren Baverstock, Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Operations Manager, said: “There are very few olive ridleys nesting in Arabia and all of them nest on Masirah Island in Oman. This is the first time an Olive Ridley has been tagged in the UAE and we are all very excited to discover where she will travel to next. This initiative provides valuable data about how the turtles are progressing in the wild. We are especially gratefully to the local community and the organisations who found many of the injured turtles and brought them to us for rehabilitation.”
Barnacle was rescued several months ago and was suffering from positive buoyancy which meant the turtle was constantly floating high up in the water. After spending time in the turtle rehabilitation facilities at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) team moved her into the turtle lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem and within three weeks she was able to swim down to the bottom.
This latest release brings the total number of turtles returned to the wild since the project began in 2004 to 1,175. All the turtles have been rescued from the shores of the UAE by members of the public 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. All the turtles started their rehabilitation at the facilities within Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and then moved to the new turtle lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem prior to release.
The project accepts any distressed turtle, with the most common turtles found in the Arabian Gulf being the critically endangered hawksbill and the endangered green sea turtle. The majority are juvenile hawksbills, which are found washed up on the coast 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.
Situated near the shores of the Arabian Gulf within landscaped gardens, the new facility at Jumeirah Al Naseem is the region’s first purpose-built lagoon for rehabilitating rescued turtles. The animals which have suffered a range of illnesses or traumas, can be carefully monitored in the lagoon before they are returned back to their native waters. The new lagoon facility and nature trail is the public interface of the DTRP. The project plays a vital role in helping to raise awareness of the plight the turtles face.
The opening of the lagoon was a dream come true for marine biologist Warren Baverstock and his small team of six who work tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate injured and sick turtles (mainly hawksbills, green and loggerheads) from around the region. It’s the combination of over 12 years of continuous hard work and their innate passion for wildlife which has enabled the project to get to this stage.
The satellite tagging initiative will allow the DTRP to develop a picture of the turtles’ journeys through the region. Interested parties can check for updates on the Dubai Aquarium and the DTRP Facebook pages.
Notes to Editors:
The DTRP is at the forefront of sea turtle rehabilitation protocols and veterinary procedures. 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.
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) 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, Oman, Russia and the UAE. www.jumeirah.com
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