UAE Marine Specialists Help Turtles to Swim Towards a New Life

On Thursday morning, it was a heart-warming spectacle to watch on the clean shores of the Jumeirah Al Naseem beach, as 75 extremely threatened Hawksbill turtles were rescued and rehabilitated back into the ocean.

The release of turtles was watched by guests at the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and Madinat Jumeirah, and officials from the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Marine specialists at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) have been working industriously for the past six months returning these particular set of sick and injured turtles that were washed up onto the shores of the UAE.

Gerhard Beukes, director of the DTRP, stated that there are only about 8,000 breeding females of Hawksbill Turtles left in the world. He emphasized on the significance of releasing these turtles back into the waters of the Arabian Gulf, after having finished their outstanding rehabilitation at the centre.

He also requested the public to not try and return or release the turtles back to the wild on their own, but rather get in touch with the professionals of the DTRP.

Beukes stated that the DTRP is aware of cases where efforts have been made by well-meaning individuals to just position the turtles into fresh water for a few days.

While this does kill epibionts such as barnacles, a clean turtle isn’t a healthy turtle. He also stated that a healthy turtle has ways and means to clean itself, but being weak is a sign of an underlying issue that demands specialist veterinary care, and rescue efforts.

The DTRP project is a flagship endeavor from the Jumeirah Group, Dubai Falcon Hospital, the Dubai Wildlife Protection Office, Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Emirates Environmental Agency, and many other NGO’s.

Since the project started in 2004, DTRP has now rescued and released a total of 1,732 turtles According to experts from DTRP, the main goal of the project is to rescue, return and release any sea turtles that are found wounded or sick throughout the region. The team also intends to educate on sea turtle biology and the local and global plight of the beloved sea turtle.