Call to report sightings of cold-stunned turtles on Abu Dhabi beaches

Hundreds of the sea creatures get stranded every winter

Barnacles can hamper the movement of turtles. Courtesy Emirates Global Aluminium  
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The public is being urged to report sightings of "cold-stunned" turtles on Abu Dhabi's beaches.

The phenomenon happens every winter because of the cooler water temperatures.

At least 300 turtles affected by the condition are rescued every year on the emirate's beaches.

Now the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the emirate's National Aquarium are teaming up to help the turtles.

If you come across a stunned turtle, call the Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre at 800 555. They will then be cared for by expert teams.

Cold-stunning can also, in cases, lead to a build-up of barnacles on their shells, which hampers their ability to move.

People are advised not to attempt to remove the barnacles, but to instead contact wildlife officers.

The cold-stunning phenomenon happens around the world. Thousands of turtles were released into the sea after being rescued during a record-breaking winter storm that rocked Texas and other US states during the week.

The animals were unable to swim or feed after being cold-stunned.

There are an estimated 5,500 turtles living in the waters off Abu Dhabi. About 1,500 of these are critically endangered hawksbill turtles.

The National Aquarium, meanwhile, is scheduled to open this year and will include a dedicated facility for displaying marine life.