Abu Dhabi’s environmental agency amplifies efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and release endangered sea turtles while revealing their unexpected resilience to climate change.
Abu Dhabi's environmental agency recently conducted another successful operation in their ongoing project to save the Persian Gulf's endangered sea turtles. This recent rescue effort saw a group of around 80 turtles released back into the ocean, with each little flip of a flipper marking the culmination of years of dedicated conservation work.
Since its inception three years ago, this program, spurred by the climate change crisis and a myriad of other threats, has seen the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of approximately 500 sea turtles.
The latest batch of these ancient marine dwellers, once they reached the water's edge, were gently guided into the ocean by not only members of the Wildlife Rescue Program but also local citizens. To bolster their research efforts, many of these turtles were equipped with satellite trackers, giving scientists valuable insights into their migration routes and the efficacy of their rehabilitation practices.
According to APNews, The decline in sea turtle populations isn't a tale solely of natural predators. They're also victims of human actions and climate change. They've been hunted for their meat, eggs, and shells; plastic pollution, vessels, and nets pose fatal threats; and expanding coastal development eats away their nesting grounds.
The United Arab Emirates has shown a united front in tackling this issue. The Emirates Nature-WWF has been studying the hawksbill and green turtles in the region for over a decade, while the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has rehabilitated and released over 2,000 turtles in nearly 20 years.
Interestingly, researchers are finding signs of sea turtles' resilience and adaptation to climate change. Turtle gender is determined by the incubation temperature of the eggs, with warmer temperatures leading to more females. Despite conditions in the UAE favoring a higher female-to-male ratio, the male population remains robust, prompting scientists to investigate this adaptation further and its implications for future climate change resilience.
The ongoing global climate crisis and its detrimental impacts on sea turtles and other species will be a focal point of discussion at the United Nations climate change summit, slated for November in Dubai.
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