(Menarfin– Khaleej Times) Posted on Mon, Feb 20, 2023 at 2:41pm
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) and The National Aquarium (TNA) have safely rescued more than 500 sea turtles as part of their Joint Wildlife Rescue Programme, Abu Dhabi’s first rescue, rehabilitation and release programme. Launched in July 2020, the program includes purpose-built laboratories, research and rehabilitation facilities at the National Aquarium. In 2022, the Wildlife Rescue Program launched the first rescue boat of its kind in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the ruler’s representative of the Al Dhafra region, and plans are underway to build the first wildlife ambulance of its kind, capable of delivering on remote beaches. Immediate first aid. The program continues to grow each year in an effort to preserve and celebrate the UAE’s natural treasures.
Over the past three years, the program has released four species of endangered sea turtles, including Olive Ridley and Loggerhead, which are not commonly found in these areas. Two whale sharks, one of which was seven meters long, seabirds, sea snakes and various exotic animals joined the successful rescue.
To monitor the program’s success, both sea turtles and whale sharks are fitted with satellite tracking equipment. This enables valuable research into their health and habits after release as they migrate thousands of kilometers across the ocean. This data is important both regionally and globally, as many of these animals will travel the world. The plan has also been expanded to include a turtle sanctuary at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as a final step in restoring the large turtles before their eventual release.
Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of EAD’s Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector, said: “What EAD has achieved so far in partnership with TNA has been incredible. The main success has been our ability to not only save and rehabilitate sea turtles, but to release them back into the wild Habitat to ensure they continue to reproduce and survive as a species. We work hard to protect Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity and the Wildlife Rescue Program is an important stepping stone in achieving this goal. We are already on the right track and this program will have positive impact on other species The future is very promising.
TNA General Manager Paul Hamilton commented: “The strategic success of our partnership with EAD officials not only highlights the enormous value of the wildlife rescue programme, but demonstrates its growing potential. Our continued success also depends on public support as we Hundreds of calls have been received alerting Wildlife Rescue to various animal emergencies. Wildlife Rescue is Abu Dhabi’s first rescue, rehabilitation and research facility. In 2022 TNA launches Junior Marine Biologist program, designed specifically for children ages 5 to 15, to engage them hands-on in sea turtle rehabilitation.In addition to this program, all guests of the aquarium can observe the daily activities of the Wildlife Rescue Project and its dedicated veterinarians in action.
EAD, the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, and TNA, the largest aquarium in the region, have proven to be a major success in rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing large numbers of sea turtles in line with the emirate’s commitment to the wild Animal protection commitment to other creatures.