Dubai: An endangered hawksbill turtle has been spotted by the Dubai Municipality (DM) nesting a total of 121 eggs at Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary. The sighting marks the start of the nesting season, which runs from March to June, according to a tweet by DM on Monday.
The civic body added taking care of the endangered turtle is part of its efforts to preserve wildlife. Like many sea turtles, hawksbills are critically endangered due mostly to human impact. Sea turtles are also threatened by accidental capture in fishing nets and habitat loss is another serious threat facing hawksbill turtles.
Hawksbill turtles grow up to about 45 inches in shell length and 150 pounds in weight. Their upper shell is heart-shaped and it elongates as the turtle matures. The hawksbill turtle’s tapered head ends in a sharp point resembling a bird’s beak, hence its name. Hawksbill turtles are found throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They prefer coastlines where there are abundant sponges that they like to eat.
Early this month, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announced a three-year National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the UAE to protect the marine creatures.
Hiba Al Shehhi, acting director of the Biodiversity Department at MoCCE noted there are 15 marine protected areas in the UAE that have become regular nesting sites for sea turtles. Five of the seven species of turtles found in the world’s oceans can be found in the UAE.