Conservation and development have to work together by Nikki Schreiber (Vision Magazine UAE)

available: http://vision.ae/life/articles/conservation_and_development_have_to_work_together

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is the only project of its kind in the Middle East. But it’s not just about allowing sick turtles to be nursed back to health – vital scientific work increases the international knowledge base used to further protect these creatures.

In the bowels of one of the world’s most luxurious hotels sits a small team of marine biologists who live and breathe turtles; and just as the human guests arrive at the Burj Al Arab by helicopter or Rolls Royce, so distressed turtles arrive in buggies to check in at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP).

The DTRP was set up in 2004 by Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office in collaboration with the Jumeirah Hotel Group, which provides the husbandry and finance for the project. It is the only one of its kind in the Middle East with its function being to nurse sick and injured turtles back to health so that they can be released into the ocean, and, to contribute to international marine knowledge through its study of turtles and their migration patterns.

The DTRP accepts any distressed turtle, but by far the most common turtles found in the Arabian Gulf are the critically endangered Hawksbill and the endangered Green Sea Turtle. The majority of rescued turtles are juvenile Hawksbills, which are found washed up on the Gulf coastline during the winter months of December, January and February suffering from the adverse effects of cold sea temperatures. In addition, it is suspected that the cold causes the young turtles to slow down, allowing an abnormally heavy coverage of barnacles to grow on the carapace of some of the turtles – which eventually results in them being unable to swim. Injuries from boats are also a hazard, as is becoming entangled with floating rubbish or becoming sick from ingested plastic.

The turtles that end up at the DTRP are the lucky ones. They are checked over by the marine biologists, the few that need a vet are referred, and then a course of treatment begins that can include fresh water baths which helps to rid the turtle of barnacles, and vitamin supplements and antibiotics as required. Once they have recovered, they are moved to a special turtle enclosure outside one of the Jumeirah group’s other hotels, the Mina A’Salam, for the final stages of rehabilitation. This enclosure works two ways: it allows for the marine biologists to monitor feeding behaviour before the turtles are released, and it raises the public’s awareness of these endangered species. A look at the project’s popular Facebook page (www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation) verifies this: people all over the world follow the progress of turtles they have fallen for while watching them swim and bask in the enclosure.

The Hawksbill and the Green Sea Turtle are in danger of extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature there has been an 87 per cent drop in the global number of nesting Hawksbill females in the last three generations. Modern fishing practices, oil pollution, construction, the Asian appetite for turtle meat and the desire for tortoiseshell are threatening to wipe them out, so the work of the project is paramount in conserving and improving their prognosis.

This winter the DTRP took in 360 turtles, many of them found by the Emirates Marine Environmental Group who comb the beaches looking for distressed turtles. To celebrate Earth Day in April, a group of lucky children were able to release 100 of these rehabilitated turtles from the beach, watched by the public and the world’s press.

Turtles do not usually nest and feed in the same places and can travel large distances between the beaches where they lay their eggs and their feeding grounds, so the study of turtles and their migration patterns is particularly important. Tracking is done by attaching a satellite tag to a turtle; Warren Baverstock and David Robinson, who run the DTRP, explained that the ultimate goal of satellite tagging is to collect information on a part of a turtle’s life history so that this can be used to help conserve and protect the animals and to observe post-rehabilitation behaviour.

The results of their work are shared through the global rehabilitation database that was initiated by the DTRP and is managed from Dubai. This database is used as a tool to connect rehabilitation projects around the world and to facilitate discussion. The team has also been asked to help and advise on projects in Qatar, Sumatra, Kenya and the Maldives.

The true value of the knowledge built up by the marine biologists at DTRP is multifaceted.

The drop in water temperature in winter in the Arabian Gulf is particularly difficult for the tropical Hawksbill turtle, which prefers the much warmer conditions of the Arabian Gulf in the summer. Hawksbill turtles in other parts of the world are not having to endure these drops in temperature and so it is the study of the Gulf Hawksbill turtles which will contribute to international scientific knowledge on their resilience to climate change and what needs to be done to ensure that there isn’t a future imbalance of males-to-females [the sex of the hatchling is determined by the incubation temperature].

In addition, the DTRP is in a great position to advise on turtle rehabilitation. As they continue to provide best practice, they are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible and reducing the number of turtles that die. The satellite tagging project contributes to the increasing database of knowledge surrounding turtle migration which helps turtle conservationists all over the world to understand what needs to be done to protect turtles in their natural habitats.

Lastly, the project is showing how conservation can work alongside development influencing and educating the choices made in industry. As Warren Baverstock says, “Conservation and development have to work together.”

a big thank you to Nikki Schreiber and Vision Magazine UAE for a well written piece about the DTRP.

Turtles will taste freedom Thursday – Plucky little creatures to be released into the wild after care by a local group

Rescued and rehabilitated hawksbill turtles are to be released back into the sea Thursday in celebration of World Sea Turtle Day.

One hundred turtles were released earlier this year for Earth Day, and this week another 101 turtles will be returned to the Arabian Gulf by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP), a collaboration between the Wildlife Protection Office and the Burj Al Arab aquarium. Before their release the turtles are being kept in a new turtle pen at the Mina A’Salam hotel. Altogether 120 turtles brought back to health after being washed up ashore or handed in injured, are enjoying the specially built area. The 19 turtles not released today are expected to taste freedom after the summer when another release will be scheduled, said Warren Baverstock, Aquarium Operations Manager, Burj Al Arab. Article continues below Some of the turtles are positively buoyant, meaning they float on the surface and cannot control their movements well enough to be released and be expected to survive, he said. Fresh seawater is pumped into the pen daily and rocks have been placed in particular areas with an overhang to give the turtles somewhere to dive under, mimicking their natural environment.

Bigger space “The new enclosure opened in March. With the increased awareness we’ve been receiving more turtles and needed a bigger space,” said Baverstock. Around 360 turtles have been handed in so far this year, he added. The awareness programmes run by the DTRP include free lectures and daily feedings for the public including schools. Some turtles have been found with blood parasites and covered in barnacles, said Kevin Hyland from the Wildlife Protection Office. “Barnacles are not the cause of their problems, but rather are a symptom of what’s wrong with them. When they come in they’re anaemic, dehydrated, some even have pneumonia,” he said. Turtles that go through the DTRP are microchipped making it easy to track them if they wash up again. So far, none of the turtles released have returned, said David Robinson, Burj Al Arab assistant aquarium operations manager and member of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project team.

“The turtles are all yearlings from last year. We take DNA samples to try and track where they are coming from,” he said. Up to 430 turtle nests have been located near islands off the UAE coast, he added. “The turtles seem a bit disoriented when they are initially released but they never come back.”

Turtle feeding at Mina A’Salam takes place every Wednesday at 11.30am and Fridays at 1.30pm. To organise a school visit contact baaaquarium@jumeirah.com

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/turtles-will-taste-freedom-thursday-1.822171

Warren Baverstock, Aquarium Manager im Burj Al Arab

Am 16. Juni, dem «World Turtle Day», wird die Jumeirah-Gruppe aus Dubai 101 Hawsbill-Schildkröten in die Freiheit entlassen. Ein rosser Tag für diese am meisten gefährdeten aller Meeresschildkröten – und für Warren Baverstock, den Aquarium Operation Manager.

Diese drei Arbeitsplätze sind Warren Baverstock ans Herz gewachsen: das Aquarium des Luxushotels Burj Al Arab in Dubai, das Aquarium des Restaurants Marina im Jumeirah Beach Hotel und das Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project in Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, ebenfalls in Dubai. Baverstock ist verantwortlich

dafür, dass an diesen Riesenaquarien und im Schildkröten-Rehabilisierungszentrum nicht nur für das Wohl der Lebewesen gesorgt wird, sondern auch, dass sie nach neuesten Erkenntnissen geführt und ausgestattet

sind. Sein Arbeitstag ist denn auch spannend und ausgefüllt. Nach seiner Ankunft im weltbekannten Burj Al Arab macht er als Erstes einen Rundgang, kontrolliert sämtliche Einrichtungen und sieht nach den Tieren. Spezielle Beachtung finden dabei jene Tiere, die sich noch in Quarantäne befinden und in den nächsten  Tagen den Aquarien zugeführt werden sollen. Mit besonderer Hingabe und viel Energie kümmert er sich aber um sein Schildkröten-Rehabilisierungszentrum. Nach dem Kontrollgang bespricht er sich mit seinem Team. Es werden technische Aspekte, das Befinden der Tiere wie auch Projekte in Zusammenhang mit den Lebewesen diskutiert. Dabei ist vor allem das Wasser, ihre natürliche Umgebung, wichtig, das sich in einwandfreier Qualität zeigen soll.

Interview mit Monty Python – Baverstock erledigt administrative Arbeiten und beaufsichtigt die Fütterung der Tiere. So oft es geht, beobachtet er sie, um so auch weitere Erkenntnisse über sie zu sammeln. Und wenn immer es die Zeit zulässt, taucht er selber in die Aquarien ein und beteillgt sich an der Fütterung. So gesellt er sich besonders

gerne zu den Leopard-Haifischen, den Buckelkopf-Lippenfischen und den Moränen. Jeden Abend, bevor er nach Hause geht, macht er nochmals einen Kontrollgang. Ein unvergesslicher Arbeitstag war jener,

als er vom englischen Komödianten und Reisejournalisten Michael Palin im Burj al Arab interviewt wurde. Er werde nie vergessen, wie sie sich das erste Mal begegnet seien: «Michael, I’m a big fan», habe er zu Palin gesagt. Und dieser habe sein «Monty Python face» aufgesetzt und erwidert: «Yes, you are!» – bezugnehmend auf den Grössenunterschied der beiden. Palin ist 177 Zentimeter gross, Baverstock 198 Zentimeter. Die Liebe zum Wasser und seinen Lebewesen übernahm er von seinem Vater. Dieser habe ihn schon als Bub ins Moorland bei Devon in Grossbritannien mitgenommen. Und seit er zu einem Geburtstag einen Schnorchel

und eine Maske bekommen habe, sei es sein Bubentraum gewesen, später einmal den Leuten über Wasser zeigen zu können, was es unter Wasser so alles zu entdecken gibt. Als er dann auch Tauchen lernte, war klar: Die Wasserwelt war seine. Seine Arbeit in Dubai fasziniert ihn. In den nächsten drei Jahren will er zahlreiche Renovationen und Verbesserungen vornehmen und sich noch weiter für das childkrötenzentrum

einsetzen. In diesem Rehabilisationszentrum werden Schildkröten, die verletzt oder ausgestossen wurden, wieder aufgepäppelt und wenn immer möglich wieder in die Freiheit entlassen. Baverstock wird auch verantwortlich sein für das Schildkrötenprojekt, das die Jumeirah-Gruppe in ihrem neuen Hotel auf den Malediven umsetzen will. Wie viel ihm diese Tiere bedeuten, unterstreicht er mit seinen Aktivitäten im Rehabilisierungsprogramm, das auf den beiden Internetseiten http://www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation und

http://www.dubaiturtles.com dokumentiert ist. Gibt es etwas, das er an seiner Arbeit nicht liebt? «Nein, eigentlich nicht – ausser dass ich gerne Verstärkung bei den administrativen Aufgaben hätte. Ich bin nicht unbedingt

ein Büromensch.» In seiner Freizeit widmet sich Warren Baverstock der Unterwasserfotografie. Er möchte in Dubai eine Gemeinschaft von Unterwasserfotografen aufbauen. Seit zehn Jahren wohnt er nunmehr in Dubai. Das Einzige, das er vermisse, seien Flüsse und Bäche, umgeben von grünem Gras und saftigen Bäumen. Dabei geniesst er wiederum das Leben in Dubai mit seinen ganz anderen Schönheiten.

EIN TAG IM LEBEN – Von Emil Hager

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project Update – Making a Difference


Since December 2010, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) have received over 360 sick or injured sea turtles from the people of Dubai and environmental organizations such as EMEG. 90% of the animals washing up are juvenile hawksbill turtles between the weights of 200 and 500 grams. Similar events have happened on an annual basis since the project started in 2004 although this year the amount of animals is unprecedented. We attribute the annual ‘stranding’ of this particular age cohort of hawksbill turtles between the months of December and March, to be associated with but not entirely due to a phenomenon known as ‘cold stunning’. Turtles are cold blooded and as such gain their body heat from the surrounding environment. In Dubai between the months of December and March, the water temperatures can reach as low as 15 degrees. We think that these cold temperatures severely affect the juvenile hawksbill turtles as they are the main demographic affected by the cold water temperatures. Continue reading

100 Rehabilitated Turtles Released to Celebrate Earth Day – Gulf News

In front of a crowd of hundreds of onlookers, 100 endangered hawksbill turtles were released back into the wild on Friday.The animals were rehabilitated by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP), which is a collaboration between the Wildlife Protection Office and the Burj Al Arab aquarium. It is also Dubai’s only turtle rehabilitation project.  The turtles were placed on the sand by 100 lucky children – some of whom had won a competition via Facebook and some hotel guests – and flipped their way back to their homes in the sea.  The animals come to the centre with different problems, including injuries related to becoming entangled in fishing line; positive buoyancy, meaning they can’t dive down underwater; barnacle encrustation; and exhaustion, according to Warren Baverstock, Aquarium Operations Manager, Burj Al Arab.

“Through awareness, we’ve had 360 turtles brought in, in the past four months. I really want to say thank you to the people of Dubai for all their support,” he said on the beach Friday.  “Rehabilitation can take between three and 24 months, depending on the injuries. The turtles are found along the shoreline of the UAE and many are found by dog-walkers washed up on the shore. We keep them alive and get them back into the sea,” he said, adding that they are a small team comprised of eight members.  The turtles’ primary care is carried out at the Burj Al Arab and then they are moved to the two rehabilitation pens at the Mina A’Salaam Hotel. After close monitoring, they are then released back into the sea.

Each animal over 30cm long is tagged and every turtle is microchipped. “We’ve never had one return to date,” Baverstock said.  Earth day is celebrated on April 22 each year, to encourage companies around the world to remember and appreciate the earth’s natural environment.  Launched in 1970, it is now celebrated in more than 175 countries worldwide and was designated International Mother Earth Day by the UN in 2009.

Turtle facts

  • There are two types of turtle commonly found in the Gulf of Arabia, the Hawksbill and Green.
  • A female turtle can lay between 60 and 150 eggs depending on the species.
  • It takes the eggs around two months to incubate depending on the climate.
  • Turtles will always try to return to the very beach where they emerged to lay their eggs.
  • Only one out of 1,000 hatchlings survives until maturity (i.e. only 1 hatchling out of every 10 nests will survive to adulthood).
  • Nobody is quite sure how long turtles live for but it is estimated that they can live in excess of 150 years.
  • Under UAE law it is prohibited to capture sea turtles of all species or to collect their eggs, the penalty for doing so includes imprisonment and/or a heavy fine.

Qatar – Injured Turtle Given Treatment In Dubai

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is a collaboration programme between the Dubai Wildlife Protection Office and the Jumeirah Group

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.

Back To Nature

With extinction threatening, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is working hard to help save injured or sick turtles in the UAE’s surrounding waters. FOOD finds out how and why.

The UAE is home to a surprising amount of wildlife and wild turtles are among the many species that grace the Arabian Gulf. Today, the Green and critically endangered Hawksbill turtles can be found in local waters. However, the latter has experienced a heavy decline across the world – largely as a result of oil pollution, the Asian meat trade (China is particularly fond of turtle meat), egg collection and the destruction of nesting habitats. But even everyday life presents its dangers in this region. Turtles are commonly injured by jet-skis and boats, or get caught up or ingest discarded rubbish. And this is where the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) springs into action. Established in 2004, the DTRP is run in conjunction with the Wildlife Protection Office and the Burj Al Arab Aquarium. The group rehabilitates turtles to their natural habitat where possible, while also raising awareness for the species and their plight. Each and every turtle at the sanctuary has been rescued from the waters of the UAE, having been injured or fallen sick. Sometimes members of the public will happen across the ailing creatures, otherwise the DTRP or Dubai’s Municipality’s patrols will find them. Aside from injuries, turtles can also get sick. This tends to be caused by excessive barnacle growth on their shells. Turtles are also more susceptible to becoming ill during the cooler winter months as they rely on gaining body heat from their surroundings. In fact, over a three-month period last year, 90 turtles that were either sick or injured were brought in to receive treatment from the DTRP. To begin with, injured or sick turtles are taken to a partnering veterinary clinic to determine the treatment required and are then micro-chipped for monitoring. From the vets, the turtles are then taken to the Burj Al Arab Aquarium to recover in indoor temperature-controlled quarantine baths. This can help bolster health as Warren Baverstock, the Aquarium Operations Manager explains: “The great advantage of using this facility is that the temperature can be up to 10 degrees higher than ambient, giving a much-needed boost to the debilitated turtle’s metabolism.”

Turtles that recover are then relocated to the Mina A’ Salam turtle enclosure. Here, the DTRP team monitors the turtles and their feeding behavior. During this time members of the public can visit the turtle sanctuary. At Friday brunch at Al Muna and Zheng He’s restaurants, diners can experience feeding time first-hand, as can guests staying within the resort on Wednesday afternoons. By providing public interaction, the DTRP hopes to raise awareness for turtles and the need to protect marine life. For instance, the number of turtle causalities could be significantly reduced if the public refrained from littering on beaches. The turtles remain at the sanctuary until fully recuperated and back to their original health. On average most will stay around a year, but the length of stay is dependent on the turtle’s condition. In this respect, not all the turtles will return to the wild. Animals with missing limbs, blindness and neurological problems would never be able to survive, therefore are permanently looked after, cared for and fed at the enclosure. Those that do recover have their flippers fitted with titanium tags before being released into the wild. The tags carry codes for identification along with the contact details of the Wildlife Protection Office. And in their quest to discover the habits and track the turtles’ journeys, DTRP would like to attach satellite transmitters to learn more about the species. “Further tracking is important for us to build a picture of where the turtles that are found in the waters of the Emirates travel to reach their feeding, breeding and nesting grounds. Without the protection of all these sites, the turtle population will surely decline further,” explains Warren. In the past, the group tracked a turtle named Dibba, previously in their care, for 8,600km – from the Middle East to South East Asia. By saving distressed turtles and undertaking research, the DTRP provide a crucial role in protecting the future of tomorrow’s wildlife.

For further information on the organisation log on to http://www.dubaiturtles.com, http://www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation or http://www.seaturtle.org

SPINNEY’S FOOD MAGAZINE

Burj Al Arab Sponsor Turtle Satellite Tag & Release for World Sea Turtle Day 2010

On June 16th, Burj Al Arab kindly provided a satellite transmitter for a 35kg rehabilitated green turtle so that we could track her journey and to help with our research of the movements of turtles within the Arabian Gulf. This is the Dubai Rehabilitation Project’s fourth satellite tag application and all of our tags so far have been sponsored by Jumeirah Group. Moonlight was the name given to the turtle and she was released on June 8th along with another green turtle weighing 110kg, called ‘Sabri’ (which means endurance in Arabic), and 23 critically endangered juvenile hawksbill turtles that had all been through rehabilitation at the Project. Continue reading

Saving Tomorrow’s Turtles – Giving wild turtles a second chance at life, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is helping save the species from extinction.

Nestled within Madinat Jumeirah’s Mina A’ Salam, turtles can be seen contently paddling in the resort’s aquamarine waters. Shortly, these placid reptiles will be swapping resort life for the great outdoors when they are returned to the wild. Established in 2004, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is run in conjunction with the Wildlife Protection Office and the Burj Al Arab Aquarium. The group aim to rehabilitate turtles in their natural habitat, while at the same time raising awareness of the species’ plight. All the turtles at the sanctuary have been rescued from the waters of the UAE, having been injured or fallen sick. Within their care are the Green and critically endangered Hawksbill species of turtles, both of which are commonly found in the Arabian Gulf. Injured or sick turtles are initially taken to a partnering local veterinary clinic to receive primary treatment, before being moved to the Burj Al Arab Aquarium, where their recovery is monitored closely. Once the team is satisfied with their progress, the turtles are then relocated to the Mina A’Salam turtle enclosure for the remainder of their recuperation. There are various reasons why turtles require treatment. Some become entangled or ingest plastic bags and cigarette butts, while others have been injured by boats and jet skis. Turtles can also get sick due to a significant amount of barnacle growth on their shells. Relying on gaining body heat from their surrounding environment, the reptiles are also more vulnerable during the cooler months, when the ocean’s temperature dips. The length of time the turtles remain at the enclosure very much depends on the extent of their injuries or type of illness, but most stay on average for a year. Anyone can come and visit the Mina A’ Salam’s turtle sanctuary, and during Friday brunch at Al Muna and Zheng He’s, diners are treated to a feeding at 1pm. Similarly, a feeding takes place at 1pm on Wednesday’s for children and parents staying within the resort. Once the turtles are fully recovered, they are released into the wild, but are first fitted with satellite transmitters to allow the project’s team to track their journey and collect data on migration patterns. With the help of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, these turtles now have a future – and hopefully their species as a whole will too.

Souq Magazine – Sumer 2010

25 Rehabilitated Turtles Set Free To Swim The Oceans Once More

When “Moonlight”, a green turtle weighing in at 31kg, pops up to the surface for a breather, her satellite tag will emit her location to automatically help the team track her whereabouts. Dubai: A batch of sea turtles found their way back to the sea with a helping hand and little bit more on Tuesday when a team from the Turtle Rehabilitation Unit released 23 hawksbill turtles and two green turtles, all with flipper tags and one with a satellite tag. When “Moonlight”, a green turtle weighing in at 31kg, pops up to the surface for a breather, her satellite tag will emit her location to automatically help the team track her whereabouts. Her movements will also help teach the scientific community more about this threatened species.

Sabri, the other green turtle, a heavyweight in comparison at 110kg, and the 23 much smaller hawksbill turtles, have had metallic tags with identification numbers clipped to a front flipper. “Tagging them certainly helps us know more about what happens and where they go although we haven’t tagged enough yet to see any pattern,” said Wildlife Protection Office ecologist Kevin Hyland. Hyland said none of the turtles tagged and released in previous years had come back, which was a good sign. “The bigger the population the less chance there is of retrieving them,” Hyland said. “This is the third turtle we’ve put a satellite tag on. “The first one exploded the theory that the population was contained in the Gulf when it travelled past Pakistan. “Dibba, another tagged turtle, travelled 8,000km to Thailand. It is a curious thought that something that is happening in Dubai could impact the Indonesian population. It gives us a global picture.”

Burj Al Arab Aquarium Operations Manager Warren Baverstock said 90 were released last year. The Burj Al Arab has played a big role in the rehabilitation of the turtles. “We release them when they are better but also when the weather permits and we have a boat to take them out,” he said. The turtles are taken to the rehabilitation unit when they wash up on shore, covered with barnacles. During winter turtles slowed down as the sea temperatures dropped, giving molluscs and barnacles opportunity to latch on to the carapace, which could often end up weighing more than the turtle. Some turtles came in with barnacles covering their mouth, making it impossible for them to feed. “The public has been really great in alerting us to turtles washing up,” Baverstock said. “We need them to keep contacting us and most importantly don’t try to remove the barnacles – just hand them over to us.”

You can follow the turtle’s whereabouts thanks to their satellite tags by logging on http://www.seaturtle.org and keep up with the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Unit on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/turtle.rehabilitation

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/25-rehabilitated-turtles-set-free-to-swim-the-oceans-once-more-1.638637