(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has released 13 young critically endangered Hawksbill turtles and one young Loggerhead turtle on the Saadiyat Island beach.
The endangered turtles were released in collaboration with the Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC) on the beach of the Park Hyatt hotel, Saadiyat Island. The event was the result of a successful rehabilitation prior to the release of the yearlings into their natural habitat.With the help of members of the public, fishermen, EAD rangers and stakeholders, these turtles were rescued over the last winter and kept under the supervision of the agency. Often infested with and weighed down by barnacles, these young reptiles are sensitive to rough sea conditions and get washed ashore. Turtles with minor injuries are cared for at EAD's facility, whereas serious cases are sent to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Jumeirah for veterinary care. Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Director of Terrestrial of Marine and Biodiversity at EAD, said: "The turtle release shows EAD's commitment towards conserving endangered species by involving the community, especially the younger generation." "By helping them get closer to the species, they can become key players in the conservation arena. Together we can do it," she said. Worldwide, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the Hawksbill turtle as critically endangered. Ayesha Al Blooshi, Director of Marine Biodiversity, said: 'It's wonderful to see the excitement on people's faces as they get a rare opportunity to interact with these beautiful sea turtles up close. "It's important that the public understands that as wonderful as they are, these are endangered and must be treated appropriately and handed over to authorities," Al Blooshi said. She urged the public to call 800-555 if they encounter any stranded turtles or marine life. "When rescued, turtles should be kept in sea water in a container or bucket and in the shade until collected by the authorities."