Abu Dhabi Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Project Set to Expand
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has signed an MoU with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) to create a pre-release turtle rehabilitation area at Louvre Abu Dhabi, in the waters surrounding the museum.
The project, which is the last step of the rehabilitation cycle before the marine animals are released back into the sea, is an extension of the EAD’s Wildlife Rescue Program in partnership with The National Aquarium, in line with Abu Dhabi’s existing conservation efforts to prepare the animals for release into Abu Dhabi’s waters in 2023.
The MOU, signed by H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and HE Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, aims to reinforce communication and cooperation between the parties and ensure effective collaboration on the project.
The National Aquarium will provide valued expertise from the Wildlife Rescue Program to ensure the sea turtle rehabilitation area operates to the highest possible standard, under the supervision and guidance of EAD, and supported by DCT Abu Dhabi.
Reflective of the sea turtles’ natural habitat, Louvre Abu Dhabi was chosen as a suitable rehabilitation area for the marine animals to exercise and acclimatise in preparation for their eventual release.
The area will be accessible to visitors, who can gain insight into the rehabilitation of the turtles through exhibits, workshops and curated events.
H.E. Al Geziry, said: “The collaboration of government departments, environmental groups, and leading academics to work towards a common goal is a powerful formula for facilitating positive conservation outcomes.
"By signing an MoU with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi is strengthening the strategic position of the emirate as a champion of critical sustainability issues.
"We are amplifying our ability to provide solutions to today’s challenges while collaborating with leading figures to benefit from new perspectives and to develop new solutions.
"By supporting this programme, which thus far has led to the rescue and release of more than 500 sea turtles, we are showcasing our conservation efforts and highlighting Abu Dhabi's role in prioritizing sustainable tourism-focused initiatives.”
H.E. Dr Al Dhaheri said: “We are very excited about this partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi for the establishment of a turtle rehabilitation area at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
"This project is a testament to the increased interest in environmental conservation and protection of our precious biodiversity by other government entities and highlights Abu Dhabi’s leading position as a centre for the propagation of species.
“The turtle rehabilitation area will be overseen by EAD, and operated by The National Aquarium, whose experts will help rehabilitate the animals before they are released back into their natural habitats so that they can grow and breed, leading to an increase in their numbers.
"We would like the whole world to see and learn more about our biodiversity, which is varied and abundant, and Louvre Abu Dhabi offers the perfect location to achieve this goal.”
Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “As a museum open to the sea, Louvre Abu Dhabi is committed to raise awareness on environmental sustainability and the preservation of the UAE’s natural ecosystem.
"It is a privilege for the museum to play a role in the turtles’ rehabilitation cycle, before they are released back into their natural habitat. This project is in line with the museum’s longstanding mission to honor our unique connection with the land and sea.”
Marine wildlife provides balance and stability to the natural ecosystem in the UAE. The goal of conservation and rehabilitation efforts is to ensure the survival of Abu Dhabi’s abundance of important yet fragile marine species whilst educating the public on living sustainably alongside these creatures.
The National Aquarium's marine biologists will ensure the area operates at the highest level of safety, quality and professionalism in line with international benchmarks for best practice.
EAD, as the main environmental regulator in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and an organisation with several rehabilitation programmes for the conservation of biodiversity will play an integral role in this project, leading all turtle releases back into their natural habitats.
To date EAD and The National Aquarium have released over 400 turtles.
Additionally, as a partner in the project, DCT Abu Dhabi is playing a leading role in supporting eco-tourism initiatives catering to the essential conservation needs of protecting wildlife and promoting biodiversity in the emirate while appealing to the interests of international visitors and the domestic market.