Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts along with The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation project has announced the successful return of 25 turtles back to the wild in Dubai on June the 8th 2010.
The 25 lucky turtles which were released back to their natural habitat consisted of 2 Green Chelonia Mydas turtles and 23 critically endangered Hawksbill Eretmochelys Imbricata turtles.
The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation project evolved from a small-time operation to help with the occasional turtle stranding, but in 2009 alone over 68 turtles passed through the project and were released back into the sea. The latest turtles received several months of rehabilitation at Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah to ensure they were healthy prior to their release.
An ever-increasing local awareness of The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation project has led to progressively more and more turtles being received each year, especially the months from January through to April, when local waters can be down to 16C. Many of the turtles which pass through the project’s hands are due to the efforts of Emirates Marine Environmental Group and Dubai Municipality’s Environment Section, as well as contributions from individuals.
All the turtles that were released back into the wild have been fitted with flipper tags to help identify them. Moonlight, a 31 kilo Green turtle has also been fitted with a satellite tag sponsored by Burj Al Arab, and was named by the students of Year 1 at Dubai English Speaking School after winning the project’s naming competition.
Another turtle called Sabri, a Green Turtle who weighed in at 108.6 kilograms, was named by a Jumeirah supporter who won a competition which was run by Jumeirah across Twitter and Facebook to help raise awareness of the turtle’s plight.
Although much of the project’s work is carried out behind closed doors, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts donated a large penned area at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, which is used by the project as a pre-release pen. This area provides an important chance to observe the behaviour of the turtles immediately prior to release, as well as providing an interface between the Public and the turtles, helping to greatly contribute to the local awareness. In excess of 1000 school children visit the project annually and receive guided tours and information on the turtles.
The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation project is Dubai’s only turtle rehabilitation project and represents a collaboration between The Wildlife Protection Office and Jumeirah’s Aquarium team.