x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Baby turtle returns to Gulf after being nursed back to health

Hawksbill found in critical condition off Abu Dhabi recovers

ABU DHABI // A young hawksbill turtle has been released back into Gulf waters after being nursed to health by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (Ead), it was announced yesterday.

The turtle was in critical condition when found off the shores of Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago.

Its rehabilitation was carried out at the Bu Tinah Experience dome on Abu Dhabi Corniche, which included a pool for injured and sick turtles rescued from UAE waters.

The turtle, which Ead's experts estimated to be less than a year old, arrived with its shell coated in algae and in barnacles between 10 millimetres and 12mm in diameter, some of which were cutting into its neck and flippers.

The barnacles attach themselves to a turtle's shell and weigh it down, making it hard for the animal to eat and breathe properly.

The baby turtle, which Ead named Amal (Arabic for "hope"), weighed 200 grams, including the barnacles.

The Ead team kept Amal in a freshwater isolation tank, monitored her around the clock and treated her scratches with an iodine-based antiseptic.

She began to eat voraciously as she grew stronger on a diet that included sardines and prawns.