Hawksbill turtles have started to arrive Al Taweelah beach as the annual nesting season for the critically endangered species begins.
According to Emirates Global Aluminium, EGA, four turtle nests have been spotted on the company's Al Taweelah beach site by EGA’s sustainability team so far, with more turtles expected to come ashore throughout the season.
In addition, 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. Once healthy, the turtles will be released back into the wild.
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, EGA organised a beach clean-up programme with EGA employee volunteers in January. More than 50 employees volunteered for the beach clean-up this year with almost 2.5 tonnes of washed-up waste collected. 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 Abdulla, 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."
The average lifespan of Hawksbill turtles ranges from 30 to 50 years and a female can lay 100 to150 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.
Hawksbill turtles have been listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened species. Hawksbills are named for their narrow, pointed beak. They are also known for their distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells, forming a "serrated-look" on the edges.