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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Dubai beachgoers urged to look out for ill and injured turtles 

Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project asks people to get in touch if they find any stranded turtles

Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project have called on the public to call them should they spot an injured or sick turtle - such as this Hawksbill turtle covered in barnacles. Courtesy Discovery
Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project have called on the public to call them should they spot an injured or sick turtle - such as this Hawksbill turtle covered in barnacles. Courtesy Discovery

Beachgoers in Dubai have been urged to keep a lookout for ill and injured turtles.

Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project posted a message on its Facebook page on Tuesday asking people to get in touch if they find any stranded turtles.

“Calling all Dubai beach lovers … keep your eyes peeled for young hawksbill strandings — it's that time of year again. Anyone finding a stick or injured sea turtle contact us using messenger,” said the message.

It also posted pictures of young turtles with barnacles attached to their shells — a “clear indicator” they are ill — according to the project based at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Madinat Jumeirah and run in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office.

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The hawksbill turtle is native to the Middle East, but listed as critically endangered with only about 8,000 nesting females left worldwide.

A study conducted in the UAE last year revealed the species is at risk of disappearing altogether if more is not done to save them.

Efforts are under way, and in the latest initiative, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project teamed up with Dubai Tourism to release 50 rehabilitated turtles back into the sea last week.

The loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles had been found injured on beaches around the country's coast and were nursed back to health in Dubai.

They included Hope, a young green turtle that weighs 120 kilograms that was found with serious injuries to her shell. Marine biologists at the Burj Al Arab Aquarium have been treating her over the past two years to prepare her for her return to the sea.