There are seven different species of marine turtle that inhabit the waters of the world. Sadly, each one is listed somewhere between vulnerable to critically endangered. The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project works hard to save and release as many turtles as it can.
Based within the Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is a venture that aims to rescue, rehabilitate and release turtles back into the wild. In its current form, the project has been running since 2004 and works in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office.
Since its conception, the program has overseen the release of over 1,300 rescued sea turtles, around 200 of which have been saved in 2017 alone. To save the turtles, they are are first transported to the Dubai Wildlife Protection Office or aquarium team at the Burj Al Arab. The turtles are monitored and treated and, once the team is pleased with their progress, the turtles are transferred to the state-of-the-art Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem. Not just a luxury hotel for humans then! Guests can visit the enclosure at Jumeirah Al Naseem on certain days and perhaps even take part in the feeding process.
In May of 2017, 40 turtles were released back into the waters of the Arabian Gulf. One of which, ‘SAM,’ has now become the latest contender in the Big Jumeirah Sea Turtle Race.
The Big Jumeirah Sea Turtle Race
As a fun way to document the turtle’s progression after they have left the care of the rehabilitation centre, some turtles are fitted with transmitters. Each year, Jumeirah hotels come together and sponsor a satellite tag for one of the rehabilitated turtles, the one which travels the furthest is crowned the winner.
However, the project is an important one to determine the success of the initiative, compare habitat and temperature choices and determine migrant patterns. To date, 41 turtles have been fitted with a receiver. SAM is currently on day 20 and going strong!
You can track the turtles via the sea turtle website, where you can compare distance covered and how many days the tracker has been operating for. One turtle, ‘Dibba’ managed to travel 8,600km off the coast of Thailand before the transmitter stopped receiving.