A group of endangered turtles has been released off Bu Tinah Island near Abu Dhabi.
Four green turtles were released in the Indian Ocean sanctuary by Razan Al Mubarak, secretary general of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
Tissue samples were taken from the turtles, which were also tagged in an effort to understand more about the populations living around the emirate.
“The late Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father of the UAE, was considered one of the world’s greatest conservationists,” said Ms Al Mubarak.
The marine environment in particular held an especially strong emotional value to Sheikh Zayed, she said.
The four turtles were selected to represent his values of wisdom, respect, sustainability, and human development, she said.
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“He considered it a treasured part of our heritage, our present and our future. Under his leadership, some of the most impactful wildlife release programmes in the world became a reality. Since its establishment, EAD has worked to preserve Sheikh Zayed’s environmental legacy and we will continue to do so.”
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The Bu Tinah archipelago has been under the protection of the UN Environment Programme’s Indian Ocean – South-East Asian Turtle pact since 2016, when the United Nations recognised the shoals as among the most important sanctuaries for turtles in the Indian Ocean.
The island, located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region, is also home to coral reefs, dugongs, natural mangroves, dolphins, ospreys and Socotra cormorants.
It is one of the 19 protected areas under the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network and found fame in 2011 after being shortlisted in a global competition entitled ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature.’