Turtle generic
A turtle. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: A group of people have been arrested for molesting turtles on a beach in the Amlaj governorate in Tabuk region, in northwestern Saudi Arabia, Major Raed Al Maliki, spokesman for the Special Forces for Environmental Security, said.

The men were wanted after a video clip was circulated on social media.

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Major Al Maliki called upon everyone to feel the national responsibility towards protecting the environment and wildlife.

Saudi marine rules prohibit the “possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation and harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs.

Five of the seven recognised marine turtles species have been recorded in Saudi Arabia’s territorial waters, namely the Green turtle, the Hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead turtle, the Olive Ridley turtle, and the Leatherback turtle. Due to their nesting areas

and abundance within the Kingdom’s waters, the green and hawksbill turtles are considered most important to the turtle conservation efforts in the Kingdom.

The other three species have been found in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf but no breeding sites have been recorded within the Kingdom’s boundaries. The most important nesting beaches in the Kingdom’s territorial waters of the Arabian Gulf are located on the Arabian Gulf Islands of Karan, Jana and Jurayd. These islands are regarded as the primary nesting sites for both green and hawksbill turtles in the Saudi Arabian portion of the Arabian Gulf.

In the Red Sea, the most important locations of nesting beaches exist in Ra’s Baridi, which is the most important nesting site for green turtles in the Red Sea, the Farasan Islands Protected Area, and the islands of Al Wajh Bank.