It's rare to hear a tale of animal kindness here in Dubai, but Jumeirah have given us one this week.
The Dubai group's Turtle Rehabilitation Unit, together with Hatteras Collection UAE, has successfully returned 14 critically endangered Hawksbill and three endangered Green Turtles to their natural habitat, following several months of rehabilitation.
Dubai's only turtle rehabilitation project is a collaboration between The Wildlife Protection Office and Jumeirah's Aquarium team, with essential veterinary support provided by Al Wasl Veterinary Clinic and laboratory work by the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.
All of the turtles have received unique titanium flipper tags so that they can be easily identified if found in the future. Last year the Turtle Rehabilitation Unit released 20 turtles, including a Jumeirah-sponsored, mature Green Turtle called ‘Dibba' who was satellite tagged and travelled an amazing 8600km to the coast of Thailand. This is one of the longest recorded journeys of a Green Turtle and is the first example of a Green Turtle migration from the Middle East towards Eastern Asia.
With increasing local awareness of the facility, the Turtle Rehabilitation Unit has been receiving a growing number of sick or injured turtles from people who find them washed up on the beach or floating in shallow water.
"The numbers of turtles submitted to the Rehabilitation Unit has increased significantly in recent years, primarily due to increased awareness (of the projectthrough exposure to the public via the Jumeirah Group," explains Kevin Hyland, Wildlife Protection Officer. "Education plays a vitally important role in helping the local population of turtles, and it is especially rewarding to see the children who visit the Unit at Mina A Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, learning more about their local environment and eco-structure."
This latest release would not have been possible without the support of Hatteras Collection United Arab Emirates, who provided a luxurious ‘Hatterascal' - a Tournament Edition Hatteras 60 Convertible sportsfisher - for the release vessel, ensuring that the 12 mile journey offshore was made smoothly and in minimal time.
"As soon as Hatteras Collection United Arab Emirates heard of the good work that was being done by the project we approached Burj Al Arab to volunteer our services" explains Ross Gill, General Manager of Hatteras Collection UAE. "We were delighted when we discovered that we could assist in one of the areas that the project struggled most with - finding the volunteer vessels in which to release the turtles back into their natural habitat. Building awareness and actively protecting the environment that provides us with our livelihoods and leisure time is vitally important to us - that is why we support local sustainability at all times and we are very happy to be in a position to be able to provide ongoing assistance to this unique project and to help raise awareness of their work."
Anyone finding a sick or injured turtle around the UAE should call +971 4 3017198 and leave a message for the Jumeirah Aquarium team or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org