A disabled turtle was nursed back to health by an international team of specialists after being entangled in a fishing net in Abu Dhabi.
The stricken loggerhead sea turtle required extensive support after suffering multiple broken bones and swelling due to her ordeal.
She was spotted in difficulty by staff from Nawah Energy Company and brought by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) to the new National Aquarium’s treatment facility in Al Qana for crucial care.
The significant damage caused by the fishing net led to the creature losing one of its flippers.
The turtle was already missing a flipper due to unknown causes so was unable to be returned safely to the wild.
Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species and rarely venture into UAE waters.
She will remain within the National Aquarium’s sprawling complex, but will not be short of company.
The battle-hardened turtle was released into the UAE’s Natural Treasures Zone in the aquarium, joining 200 other green and sea rescued turtles.
Throughout her intensive two-week treatment plan, the rescued turtle received outstanding levels of care, including overseas attention from vets based in the UK and Florida who are part of the Sea Turtle Rescue Alliance, a global network for sea turtle rescue centres to share clinical knowledge and data.
While the team were buoyed by the turtle’s excellent recovery, they said it was a blow that she would be unable to return to her natural habitat.
“Loggerhead sea turtles are a fundamental link in the marine ecosystem and help maintain the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds which are essential to the survival of all oceanic life,” said a statement on behalf of the National Aquarium and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
“The National Aquarium calls upon all citizens and fishermen around the UAE to always respect the nature that surrounds them and remember the collective consequences of their daily actions.”
EAD urged members of the community to report injured wildlife or environmental emergencies by contacting the Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre on 800 555.
Conservation at heart of sprawling new development
The massive aquarium is the focal point of Abu Dhabi’s new Al Qana waterfront entertainment complex, which also boasts an e-sports academy and adventure activities.
The Middle East’s largest aquarium will eventually be home to more than 300 species and 45,000 creatures.
The aquarium, working with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, will provide a rehabilitation centre for all sea animals rescued in the emirate.
“We are the ‘go team’ when it comes to any kind of marine life emergencies. They will contact us in order to assist them and come up with a rescue plan and execute rehabilitation,” said Paul Hamilton, general manager of the aquarium.
In January, the centre revealed about 60 turtles were going through rehab and said it receives up to 10 rescued turtles a day.
“Almost on a daily basis in winter we get a phone call that there is a tiny turtle on the beach somewhere, so we respond to that and bring them home here,” Mr Hamilton said.
Published: April 4, 2021 12:46 PM