Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and The National Aquarium Al Qana release 137 Sea Turtles after a third year of success for the Wildlife Rescue program

National Aquarium

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Middle East’s largest environmental regulator, and The National Aquarium Al Qana (TNA), one of the largest aquariums in the Middle East, safely released 80 sea turtles back into the open waters at the Saadiyat Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi on June 6 2023. A further 57 turtles will be released at various locations throughout June, many of which are tagged for research purposes.

The rescued turtles were cared for in the purpose built rehabilitation facilities located at The National Aquarium in Al Qana. The release of the latest batch of turtles is an important milestone for the joint Wildlife Rescue Program by EAD and TNA. Included in the June releases are those coming from the Louvre Abu Dhabi turtle sanctuary. These animals in particular are the first to go through the “re-wilding program” where turtles are exposed to the natural environment and trained to resume wild feeding habits in a secure location prior to release. All Louvre Abu Dhabi turtles will be fitted with Satellite tags and their movements will be tracked over the coming months by the Wildlife Rescue team.

Over the past three years, the programme has released four species of endangered sea turtle, including the Olive Ridley and the Loggerhead turtle, which are rarely found in these areas. Two whale sharks, one of which measured 7 metres long, seabirds, sea snakes and various exotic animals add to the list of successful rescues.

H.E XXXXXXXXX expressed satisfaction with the ongoing progress of the Wildlife Rescue Program and emphasised the crucial role played by the vigilant reporting and dedicated efforts of the wildlife programme teams in rescuing endangered turtles along the coasts, which has been instrumental in the success of the project. H.E. thanked the residents and visitors of the country for their cooperation in seeking help for stranded endangered marine life.

"An important part of the programme is the collection of data for research on the welfare and habits of turtles after their release as they migrate thousands of kilometres through the ocean. This data is important both in this region and globally for their conservation and aligns with the overall goal of providing the best possible care for the more than 5,000 turtles in Abu Dhabi's waters. We endeavour to safeguard biodiversity in Abu Dhabi, and the Wildlife Rescue Program is an important step towards achieving this goal and ensuring that local biodiversity and heritage are sustainably preserved for future generations,” H.E. added.

Paul Hamilton, General Manager at TNA, commented, "2023 has seen further growth for the Wildlife Rescue program with the inclusion of the Louvre Turtle Sanctuary, increasing our capacity to care for turtles as large as 100kg. 2023 will also see the launch of the Wildlife Rescue ambulance, providing immediate first aid to endangered marine life at the rescue site. With over 800 rescues performed over 3 years, Wildlife rescue is now one of the largest turtle rehabilitation projects in the world, having a significant impact on the wild populations of these endangered species. We remain focused on bonified marine education and conservation

Quote – Emanual Louvre Abu Dhabi