DUBAI ó In celebration of World Sea Turtle Day, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP), yesterday, successfully returned 101 critically endangered hawksbill turtles back to their natural habitat following several months of rehabilitation at the Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah.
As many as 101 children, including competition winners, students from a local school and hotel guests, released the turtles from the beach of Madinat Jumeirah back into the Arabian Gulf.
The event attracted a large crowd with children’s games and other activities, aimed to raise awareness of the importance of the turtle rehabilitation programme, issues facing turtles, their risk of extinction (with an 87 per cent decline in the hawksbill turtle population in the last three decades) and conservation of the marine environment.
The DTRP is based at the Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah and run in conjunction with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office. It has been running since 2004 and has so far released over 500 rescued sea turtles back into Dubai’s waters. This year alone, over 350 sick and injured sea turtles were treated by the DTRP’s team of marine biologists after washing up on the region’s beaches.