Turtle conservation is a global endeavor and UAE takes an active role in protecting these beautiful creatures. The Arabian Gulf is home to incredible marine life which includes turtles. Two types of marine turtles commonly found in these waters are the Hawksbills and Green turtles.
Facts about marine turtles
Pregnant turtles swim against the surf and return to the beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs. They scout for the perfect nesting spot then use their back flippers to dig a nest. It takes around one to three hours for the mother to finish laying her eggs then she heads back to the ocean. She leaves them to incubate in the warm sand for around 60 days.
Did you know that a female turtle produces anywhere between 60 and 150 eggs depending on the type of species? Despite a large number of eggs, there are some factors that can prevent a successful hatch. Severe storms can flood the nests and destroy the eggs. Hotter sands brought about by climate change are also another reason. Since the temperature of the sand influences the sex of the hatchlings, an increase in temperature can lead to a higher ratio of female to male hatchlings. Invasive species such as foxes and dogs can dig up nests and eat the eggs. Direct harvest by humans and coastal developments are also big threats to the survival of these mammals.
Capturing sea turtles and collecting their eggs are both considered illegal acts under UAE law. Anyone who disregards this law will be subject to imprisonment and/or a heavy fine.
Young turtles that defy the hatching challenges are not yet guaranteed a happy ever after. According to studies, only a single hatchling out of 1,000 turtles will reach adulthood.
Swimming with turtles
One of the best experiences that you can cherish for a lifetime is swimming with turtles in their natural habitat. Join Nemo Diving Center on our next scuba diving UAE for a chance to see turtles up close and personal.
Turtle conservation efforts in Dubai
The Burj Al Arab and Mina A’Salam, with the help of the Emirates Wildlife Protection Office, put up the Dubai Turtle Rehabiltation Project. Every year, hundreds of baby turtles are released back to the sea to live the adventure that they were born for. This annual activity aims to boost the population of marine turtles.
The rehabilitation center also rescues sick and injured turtles and nurse them back to health. Once they are strong enough, the animals are returned to their natural habitat.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the conservation efforts of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project remain strong. The only one of its kind in UAE, this rehabilitation has a dedicated and passionate team that works hard to care for turtles in need.
With the help of these people and supporters, sick and injured turtles have greater chances to survive and fulfill their role in the ecosystem. Through conservation efforts, turtles can live longer. Some say that turtles can live for more than 100 years. Who knows, perhaps a rehabilitated turtle can reach that ripe old age.