Rare green turtle nest spotted in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Media Office

A nest of green turtles has been spotted for the first time in Abu Dhabi.

It was discovered in Al Dhafra region during the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi's (EAD) annual turtle survey.

Although green turtles are found extensively in Abu Dhabi’s waters, nesting activity has never been reported before.

"During one of our nocturnal turtle surveys conducted this year, we spotted a green sea turtle nesting at one of our core Hawksbill turtle nest locations," said Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD.

"The island where the nest was seen is characterised by multiple, small pocket beaches separated by rocky outcrops – a contrast to Oman’s long and wide beaches where green sea turtles nest in abundance, which is why this is an unexpected sighting," he added.

There are seven marine turtle species found worldwide, four of which can be spotted in Abu Dhabi’s waters, with a population of more than 6,000 individuals – two of which, the Hawksbill and Green Turtle – are predominantly found here, with two other species – the Loggerhead turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle – considered occasional visitors.

In Abu Dhabi, most Hawksbill and Green turtles have been spotted in the waters of Al Dhafra Region between the islands of Abu Al Abyadh and Bu Tinah, as well as in the waters bordering the islands of Al Yasat and Muhayimat.

These areas offer extensive seagrass beds, marine algae and coral reef habitats.

Nesting takes place between mid-March to mid-June, and usually, more than 200 nests are reported during the nesting season.

Hatching occurs between mid-June to early August. Females are quite selective when it comes to choosing their nest site and have often been spotted emerging onto a beach for several consecutive nights before finding an ideal spot with soft sand, secluded from human activity.

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