We live in a city surrounded by beautiful seas, so it’s always fascinating to learn more about the marine life that lives in Abu Dhabi.
To coincide with World Turtle Day (May 23), Emirates Nature-WWF and Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) have released the results of their ongoing Gulf Green Turtle Conservation Project.
The project began four years ago, when the organisations tagged 36 turtles with satellite transmitters so that they could track where they migrated to.
The results show that several of the turtles travelled from their feeding grounds at Bu Tinah Island in Abu Dhabi, all the way to their nesting sites in Oman and then back again to the same island in the UAE.
The new data will be integrated into wider marine management and planning agendas in the UAE, as it proves that turtles are nesting and foraging in the capital.
The ground-breaking results are the first findings of this kind to be produced in the region, and there have previously only been a handful of similar efforts worldwide.
Jimena Rodriguez, manager of the Gulf Green Turtle Conservation Project at Emirates Nature-WWF said: “Being long-living animals, turtles are indicators of the status of the marine environment and require long-term strategies that can benefit other animals, habitats, and human wellbeing.
By recording a complete migration loop, we were able to better understand green turtles ecological and conservation needs, and the importance of the UAE as being a critical feeding site.”
The organisations said that the project reveals that turtles belong to no single nation, and therefore every country has a shared responsibility to protect them.
His Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, acting secretary general of EAD, said: “Our past species monitoring efforts have demonstrated that we have a large population of green turtles foraging in Abu Dhabi’s waters, but we had no record of them nesting here.
"Following the findings of this project, we will implement conservation initiatives, protecting where the turtles nest and forage. Green turtles and their habitats are a regional treasure that we must work together to protect.”
We’re thrilled to find out that we are sharing our home with these amazing creatures.
You can find out more by visiting www.emiratesnaturewwf.ae.