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On the occasion of World Sea Turtle Day 2023, Jumeirah Group’s Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has released 15 Hawksbill and 6 Green Turtles – both of which are considered endangered species – from its Jumeirah Al Naseem beach. The release marks the day set aside to honour the importance of these magnificent creatures and their vital role in the balance of marine habitats.
Among the successfully rehabilitated turtles were one large female green turtle which had suffered carapace damage due to a boat strike, as well as a male hawksbill turtle named Zippy.
Zippy was rescued by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) in October 2022, after being found in bad shape floating near the Ras al Khaimah shoreline and reported via the 800 TURTLE helpline. Zippy suffered with intestine impaction from eating plastic debris, a severe lung infection and was completely covered in barnacles. DTPR works tirelessly to save endangered turtle species such as the hawksbill turtle, which, although critically endangered, nests every year in this coast of the Gulf.
The event was hosted by Katerina Giannouka, Chief Executive Officer at Jumeirah Group, who has given a welcome speech, and commented: “With many of our resorts being coastal, both here in the Middle East as well as in Europe, Indonesia and the Maldives, we see first-hand the climate change has on precious marine species and these delicate ecosystems.”
Giannouka added: “Coastal resilience and biodiversity health are critical to Jumeirah as a business and for the tourism and hospitality sector globally. We have an obligation to act now, to educate, to collaborate, and to champion progress towards a sustainable future for all.”
The release was attended by DTRP Project Ambassador His Excellency Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Bin Khalid Al Qasimi, as well as key partners including Government representatives, academia and NGOs. Also in attendance were representatives from Yas Sea World Research and Rescue, who performed a CT scan on Zippy at the start of his remarkable rehabilitation journey.
“With so few of these turtles remaining, it is essential to ensure that every one of them can fulfil its role in maintaining population numbers,” said Barbara Lang-Lenton Arrizabalaga, Director of Aquarium at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. She added: “For this, it is critical for us to release our adult sea turtles as soon as they are fully recovered. We have already released several turtles this season, and we can see from our satellite tagging programme that some of these animals have travelled to their nesting sites. With beaches getting warmer due to climate change, the gender of sea turtles is shifting towards a higher number of females being born. To be able to reintroduce a fully grown male hawksbill turtle like Zippy is an important step for sea turtle conservation in the UAE and globally.”
Data from the satellite tagging programme run by DTRP also show how the project’s efforts are impacting the global turtle population, with the team recently tracking a rescued Olive Ridley turtle, which are occasionally found in UAE waters, back to key nesting sites for the species in India. Previous data has also shown a green turtle migrating as far as Thailand, demonstrating the importance of rehabilitation and release to maintaining sea turtle populations worldwide.
“The goal is to ensure that turtles receive the best care possible. Building inter-emirate cooperation across the UAE’s scientific communities, rescue centres and government entities enables us to undertake a mutually beneficial cooperation in sea turtle rehabilitation, research, and habitat restoration.” said Lang-Lenton Arrizabalaga. “With the support of the UAE community, Jumeirah’s Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project continues to have a positive impact on turtle rehabilitation, contributing to the conservation of these threatened species.”
Building on its commitment to the protection of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, Jumeirah Group also recently hosted a three-day Ocean Climate retreat, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) Ocean & Coastal Zones, attended by H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28. Focused on addressing the importance of the ocean climate nexus for the hospitality sector, the retreat brought together high level COP28 climate champions, experts and leaders from MPGCA Oceans and Coastal Zones World Wildlife Fund International and Emirates Nature-WWF.
Jumeirah Group has been successfully tending to sick or injured sea turtles since the inception of its dedicated programme in 2004, in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office (WPO), the Dubai Falcon Hospital and the Dubai Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. With annual rescue figures averaging over 100 sea turtles, the most predominant species tended to in the facility include Hawksbill and Green turtles, while Loggerhead and Olive Ridley turtles are occasionally brought in.
The project runs an educational programme for school groups to learn more about the work undertaken at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, the importance of these incredible creatures and the threats they face in their survival. Taking place between October and April, over 1,700 school children from all seven emirates have participated this season. Hotel guests and visitors can also learn more about sea turtles and their conservation, witness their recovery and even participate in feeding at dedicated, state-of-the-art sea-fed turtle lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem.
To learn more, please visit www.jumeirah.com/DubaiTurtleProject. In the meantime, stay connected via our social media channels and don’t forget to tag us in your posts #JumeirahTurtles or #TimeExceptionallyWellSpent.
The post Jumeirah Group celebrates marine conservation efforts on world sea turtle day appeared first on Travel Daily.