Manama: An injured turtle, belonging to an endangered species, is getting a new life thanks to efforts by Qatari and UAE teams. The Green Sea Turtle or ‘Chelonia mydas’ was discovered by the Pearl-Qatar Health, Safety and Environment team during a routine monitoring and surveillance visit around the island in October 2010. The turtle, estimated to be 20 years and weighing 61 kilos, was suffering buoyancy problems and was unable to dive. Veterinary intervention proceeded with blood samples and X-rays to determine a treatment plan for recovery, while the Environmental Affairs Department undertook a daily treatment regime of monitoring and feeding with harvested seagrass and algae. However, tests concluded that a long term rehabilitation plan was required since the turtle’s positive buoyancy was still the major concern and assistance was required from more specialised facilities, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.
The turtle was sent to a specialised turtle sanctuary in Dubai on December 15 and transported to the Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Team where it is currently receiving 7-star treatment. The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is a collaboration programme between the Dubai Wildlife Protection Office and the Jumeirah Group, with essential veterinary support provided by Dr Tom Bailey at the Dubai Falcon Hospital and husbandry support and rehabilitation facilities provided by the Burj Al Arab’s Aquarium Team and Madinat Jumeriah. All those involved are now hoping for a positive outcome that will allow the turtle to be returned to Qatar and released into Qatari waters. Though turtles are found in major seas around the world, Chelonia mydas is listed as endangered by both International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Their common name derives from the usually green fat found beneath their upper shell. They are mostly herbivorous.