Hawksbill turtles begin to arrive at Abu Dhabi nesting site

Four turtle nests have been spotted so far

Abu Dhabi's turtles have started to come ashore for nesting season. Courtesy: Emirates Global Aluminium

Critically endangered hawksbill turtles have begun arriving at a site in Abu Dhabi ahead of nesting season.

Four turtle nests have been spotted on a beach owned by Emirates Global Aluminium at Al Taweelah, but more are expected.

EGA employees also helped rescue three sick migrating turtles that washed up on the beach adjacent to the facility. The turtles are now in the care of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Centre based at Burj Al Arab and will be returned to the wild once they have recovered.

Almost 100 hawksbills have laid their eggs at the beach near the Al Taweelah site since 2011 and nearly 7,000 baby turtles have hatched during that time.

Turtle eggs take around 60 days to hatch — and until they have all been hatched, EGA said its employees will continue to monitor the nests during daily inspections and beach clean-ups to ensure their safety. In addition, it tracks nesting patterns and installs protection for the nests.

The company organised a beach clean-up programme involving 50 EGA employees in January in preparation for the turtles’ arrival, clearing almost 2.5 tonnes of washed-up waste.

“We have initiatives at all EGA sites to protect biodiversity and local natural habitats,” said Salman Abdulla, executive vice president of health, safety, sustainability, environment and business transformation at EGA.

“Our programme to protect turtle nesting at Al Taweelah has been particularly successful, and we are pleased that these endangered animals continue to come to our beach every year.”

The average lifespan of hawksbill turtles ranges from 30 to 50 years and a female can lay 100 to 150 eggs during each nesting season. Six turtle nests were seen at EGA’s Al Taweelah site with a total of 500 eggs hatched last year.

Hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened species.