Dubai Turtle

Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project releases 21 turtles

Jumeirah Group’s Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has released 15 hawksbill and six green turtles, considered an endangered species, from Jumeirah Al Naseem Beach. Timed to coincide with World Sea Turtle Day 2023, the release highlights the turtles’ vital role in maintaining the balance of marine habitats.

Dedicated to the conservation of endangered turtle species, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project works tirelessly to conserve the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species that nests annually on the Gulf coast.

Among the successfully rehabilitated turtles were one large female green turtle whose shell was damaged by a boat strike, and a male hawksbill turtle named Zippy. Zippy was rescued by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project in October 2022 after he was found floating off the coastline of Ras Al Khaimah in poor condition and reported to the 800 TURTLE helpline. Zippy suffered from a pinched gut due to eating plastic debris, a severe lung infection and was completely covered in barnacles.

The event was attended by key partners including government, academics and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Also present were representatives of the Yas Sea World Research and Rescue Centre, who performed a CT scan on Zippy at the beginning of his remarkable journey of rehabilitation.

The satellite tagging programme carried out by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has provided valuable data showing the project’s global impact on turtle populations. In particular, the team successfully tracked the rescued Olive Ridley turtle, which is sometimes found in UAE waters, to the species’ most important nesting grounds in India. Previous data has also shown that the green turtle has migrated as far as Thailand, demonstrating the importance of rehabilitation and release in maintaining sea turtle populations around the world.

The Jumeirah Group has been successfully assisting sick or injured sea turtles since the launch of a special programme in 2004, in collaboration with the Dubai Wildlife Authority (WPO), Dubai Falcon Hospital and the Dubai Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. An average of over 100 sea turtles are rescued here every year. Among the most common species assisted are hawksbill and green turtles, as well as Loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles.

The project also runs an educational programme for school groups who can learn more about the work being done at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, the importance of these incredible creatures and the threats they face in their survival. Between October and April this season, more than 1,700 schoolchildren from all seven emirates took part in the programme. Hotel guests and visitors can also learn more about sea turtles and their conservation, witness their recovery and even take part in feeding them in the special, state-of-the-art turtle lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem.

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