Dubai Municipality releases turtles at Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary

The municipality keeps hawksbill turtle eggs in sheds to protect them from natural predators like foxes and seagulls.

Hawksbill turtle hatchling glinting in light from setting sun, as it heads for the waters of the Arabian Gulf. Courtesy: Discovery
Hawksbill turtle hatchling glinting in light from setting sun, as it heads for the waters of the Arabian Gulf. Courtesy: Discovery

Dubai Municipality has released seven green turtles and 11 hawksbill turtles at the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary.

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is endangered and the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) is critically endangered.

The municipality has monitoring programmes during the hawksbill nesting season from March to June and year-round satellite tracking programmes to gather information about their migration.

A total of 52 small turtles have been released that were recently hatched from their nests in Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary.

Officials keeps hawksbill turtle eggs in sheds to protect them from natural predators like foxes and seagulls.

The average female adult lays eggs three times every season over a period of two weeks.

It lays about 80-120 eggs per nest, which hatch after 55 to 60 days.

The sanctuary has identified 41 nests in the first half of the year.

These may increase to more than 50 nests based on previous statistics.

Sea turtles are also at extreme risk from human activity on land and at sea, including habitat destruction, coastal development and pollution.

Hawksbill turtles are critical to coral reef health because they eat algae and sponges, which compete with coral for space.

But their global population has dropped by 80 per cent over the past three generations.

The Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary covers 77 square kilometres, and is home to about 539 plant and animal species, including dugongs, sharks and 34 types of coral.

Dugongs and Indo-Pacific humpbacks are endangered species registered in the reserve.

The reserve is also considered a suitable area for the reproduction of many types of fish, such as the hamin epinephelus coioides, the Arabian carpet shark, the black-tipped reef shark and the whale shark, all threatened with extinction.

Jebel Ali Reserve is the only beach area in the Arabian Gulf where turtles lay eggs, while all other nesting areas are on the islands.

Updated: July 8, 2020 09:44 PM

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