75 endangered turtles were released back into the Arabian Gulf earlier this week, after being rehabilitated by The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) at the Jumirah Al Naseem hotel’s lagoon.
The 70+ critically endangered Hawksbill turtles were joined by a single rare Olive Ridley sea turtle named Barnacle, as they went back home to the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Dubai British School children bought a satellite tag for Barnacle which was placed on her before her return to the wild so they could track her progress. As this is the first time an Olive Ridley has been tagged in the UAE, the data will prove valuable to learn more about her environment. The schoolchildren attended the special event at the Jumeirah Al Nassem and waved the turtles off as they raced towards the water.
The DTRP started in 2004 has rehabilitated and returned 1,175 turtles back to the wild since its inception. When ailing or injured turtles are found by the public or local communities, the DTRP brings them to rehabilitation facilities at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah for diagnosis and treatment. Some are suffering from having ingested plastic and trash, others are hurt after incidents with boats, and some are simply young hawksbills having washed ashore when temperatures are too cold.
In Barnacle’s case, she was suffering from a problem with positive buoyancy (too high of a float). Although many turtles can regulate their own buoyancy, trapped air or gas can cause too much of a good thing.
After Barnacle was taken care of at the Burj facilities, she and the other turtles were transferred to a turtle lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem, which is the next step for all turtles that are recovering in the program. After three weeks Barnacle was able to swim to the bottom of the lagoon, a great sign for the reptile. Once she and the other rehabilitated turtles were back good health they were released back to their home.
Safe travels, Barnacle!
(Photo credit for pic at top of article: Jumeirah)