In a joint action, The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Wildlife Society are sponsoring a female Hawksbill turtle, ‘Latifa‘ (meaning kind and gentle), in support of the Marine Turtle Conservation Programme. The move is also designed to help raise awareness of Abu Dhabi’s fragile biodiversity, including that of Bu Tinah Island, one of the 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature.
Tagging Latifa took place on Qarnein Island in Abu Dhabi. The data being collected from the monitoring device shows that Latifa is in her nesting phase staying off the coast of the island and returning several times to lay eggs. Her location and movement can be followed on www.gulfturtles.com.
“In today’s world, we face the effects of change and development with each day that passes,” said Mr. Thabit Al Abdessalaam, Director of Biodiversity Management Sector, EAD. “However, we cannot forget how these impact our fragile biodiversity. Wildlife tagging programmes allow us to gather data on species migration and nesting patterns; learning more about the species comes in useful when developing preservation and protection measures.”
The Marine Turtle Conservation Project involves several partners and sponsors across the Gulf region. Findings from monitoring the tagged turtles will be used to map critical marine turtle foraging habitats and migratory routes in the Gulf, which will guide the development of effective conservation plans for marine turtles and their habitats. The project focuses on Hawksbill turtles and aims to tag up to 75 turtles in its three-year duration.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List classifies the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) as “critically endangered”. The Hawksbill turtle is one of the species that calls Bu Tinah Island its home. To vote for Bu Tinah as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Gulf residents can SMS the word ‘BuTinah’ to 3888.