A Hawksbill turtle. Image Credit: Courtesy: EAD

Dubai: Critically-endangered Hawksbill turtles have started to arrive at the Al Taweelah site of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) in Abu Dhabi as another annual nesting season begins.

The largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas on Tuesday announced that four turtle nests have been spotted on EGA’s Al Taweelah beach by EGA’s sustainability team so far, with more turtles expected to come ashore throughout the season.

Three sick migrating turtles that washed up on the beach adjacent to EGA’s Al Taweelah facility have been rescued. The turtles are currently being rehabilitated by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Centre based at Burj Al Arab.

The turtles will be released back into the wild once healthy.

Nearly a hundred Hawksbill turtles have laid eggs at the beach next to EGA’s Al Taweelah site since 2011 and almost 7,000 baby turtles have hatched during that time.

Hawksbill turtle eggs take approximately 60 days to hatch. Until all the eggs are hatched, EGA’s sustainability department monitors the turtle nests by making daily inspections including a daily beach clean-up to ensure the safety of the animals. In addition, EGA tracks nesting patterns and installs protection measures for the nests.

In preparation of the annual visitors, more than 50 EGA employee volunteers conducted a beach clean-up programme in January and cleared almost 2.5 tonnes of washed-up waste.

An estimated 10 tonnes of debris are collected annually through daily removals during the turtle nesting season and beach clean-ups at other times during the year.

Salman Abdullah, Executive Vice President of Health, Safety, Sustainability, Environment and Business Transformation at EGA, said: “We have initiatives at all EGA sites to protect biodiversity and local natural habitats. Our programme to protect turtle nesting at Al Taweelah has been particularly successful, and we are pleased that these endangered animals continue to come to our beach every year.”

Hawksbill turtles have an average lifespan of 30 to 50 years and a female can lay 100 to 150 eggs during each nesting season. Six turtle nests were seen at EGA’s Al Taweelah site with a total of 500 eggs hatched last year.