The Wildlife Rescue Programme has reached the milestone of 1,000 turtles rescued since its launch in 2020. Wildlife Rescue is the first, rescue, rehabilitation and release facility in Abu Dhabi.
In line with the Year of Sustainability, The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the region’s largest environmental regulator and The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi (TNA) are set to reach the phenomenal milestone of rescuing 1,000 sea turtles in only four years.
Since its inception in 2020, the partnership between EAD and TNA has proven to be increasingly successful. The first of its kind in the UAE, the Wildlife Rescue Programme, has increased its efforts to protect and conserve native wildlife in the UAE’s capital. Additional manpower and the construction of state-of-the-art facilities have been commissioned to support rescuing sea turtles in Abu Dhabi waters with the aim of streamlining the rescue and rehabilitation processes for local wildlife.
The journey of “Turtle 1,000” begins…
The progress of Turtle 1,000 will be followed closely in an updated blog on TNA’s website and via social media platforms. In a bid to boost public awareness about the program, expert veterinarians will explain the animals’ rehabilitation processes.
Once released back into the wild in the summer of 2024, Turtle 1000’s progress around the Arabian Gulf will be tracked by a satellite tag, with the turtle’s movements and positions shared weekly via the website blogs.
For the occasion, Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD, said: “As part of the newly announced extension of the Year of Sustainability into 2024, we are thrilled to have rescued 1,000 turtles in partnership with The National Aquarium, reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s position as a leader in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of flagship species in the emirate. With our years of experience in conservation, we are always striving to provide the most advanced care to our turtles so that they thrive in abundance until we release them back into their natural habitats. This ensures their numbers are stable and are thriving within the emirate’s waters reinforcing our vision for a sustainable future so that future generations live with plentiful numbers of marine species.”
On the significance of the upcoming rescue, Paul Robert Hamilton, General Manager – The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, said: “The rehabilitation and eventual release of 1,000 turtles is a testament to the success and dedication of both TNA and The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi working together for the past four years on securing the future of these important creatures. This milestone will not only reinforce the immense value of the Wildlife Rescue Program, but will also highlight the importance of reintroducing endangered species into their natural habitats as vital to the remaining populations.”
The continuous success of the Wildlife Rescue Programme is also largely dependent on the support of the general public – Hamilton urges anyone who encounters defenceless turtles to call the Wildlife Rescue Program helpline (800 555) and be a part of preserving the planet and its ecosystem for generations to come.
Throughout the programme, guests who have visited TNA have been able to see the rehab process first-hand for many of these recently released turtles. Children who were part of TNA’s Junior Marine Biologist (JMB) Program, also got the chance to assist in their rehab process.