The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, EAD, in collaboration with the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, DTRP, and Emirates Palace, have released 49 critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and one Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) on the beach of Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, according to WAM.
This event is in celebration of Endangered Species Day, which falls on May 19. The event highlights the plight of many threatened and critically endangered species and the ways in which people can alter their behaviour to help protect and save animals.
With the help of members of the public, fishermen, EAD rangers and stakeholders, these turtles have been rescued over the last year and sent to DTRP, where they were treated for any infections, diseases or injuries. This release is the result of a successful co-operation between EAD and the DTRP.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, executive director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD, said, "This turtle release shows EAD’s commitment towards conserving endangered species through rescuing turtles and involving the community and younger generation. By getting them closer to the species, they can connect to our natural heritage and become players in the conservation arena. It is important that the public understand that these are endangered wild animals and, if found, must be handed over to authorities for expert care. We urge the public to call 800-555 if they encounter any stranded turtles or marine life,"
Warren Baverstock, Burj Al Arab’s aquarium operations manager of DTRP, said, "We are extremely proud to release these rehabilitated sea turtles back into their environment. We are especially grateful to the local community and the organisations who found many of the injured turtles and brought them to us for rehabilitation, and we are proud of our collaboration with EAD. To date, the DTRP has released over 1,200 rehabilitated sea turtles back into UAE waters, and this is a great achievement for the UAE. If a sick or injured turtle is found, we ask people to not remove the barnacles and contact the authorities."
Holger Schroth, general manager of Emirates Palace, said, "It’s a great responsibility to be involved in the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle rescue process. The triumph of returning a healthy animal to the wild is the reason we have such a devoted Beach Club team. The programme is successful with the help of our staff, guests and Abu Dhabi residents who alert us to sea turtles who need help. As some of Abu Dhabi’s oldest residents, it is our duty to make certain that we keep these sea turtles safe in their native waters."