The low key event was the result of a successful rehabilitation prior to the release of the yearlings into their natural habitat. With the help of members of the public, fishermen, EAD rangers and stakeholders, these turtles were rescued over the last winter and kept under the supervision and research of the Agency.
Often infested with and weighed down by barnacles, these young reptiles are sensitive to rough sea conditions and get washed ashore. Turtles with minor injuries are cared for at EADs facility, whereas all serious cases are sent to the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Jumeirah for further veterinary care.
Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Director of Terrestrial of Marine and Biodiversity at EAD, said, "The turtle release shows EADs commitment towards conserving endangered species through involving the community and the younger generation. By getting them closer to the species, they can connect to our natural heritage and become players in the conservation arena. Together we can do it."
Worldwide, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the Hawksbill turtle as critically endangered.
Ayesha Al Blooshi, Director of Marine Biodiversity, said "Its wonderful to see the excitement on peoples faces as they get a rare opportunity to interact with these beautiful and critically endangered sea turtles up close."
"Its important that the public understands that as wonderful as they are, these are endangered wild animals and must be treated appropriately and handed over to authorities for expert care. We urge the public to call 800-555 if they encounter any stranded turtles or marine life," she said.
She also said, "When rescued, turtles should be kept in sea water in a container or bucket and in the shade until collected by the authorities."
Finally, she added that "we would like to thank The Park Hyatt for their wonderful support, along with our friends at Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG), TDIC and the Dubai Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre".