Abu Dhabi, 7/6/2015 11:00:00 PM - Abu Dhabi, July 6, 2015 –Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, has announced the successful hatching of the first Hawksbill turtle nest on Saadiyat Beach for this year. Over 80 baby turtles emerged from the nest, which is located adjacent to the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas on Saadiyat Beach.
Dr Nathalie Staelens, Head of Environmental Services at TDIC said: “We are very happy that the eggs – which are from this season’s first batch – have hatched safely. The annual return of the endangered turtles is a testament to TDIC’s commitment to ensuring they are able to nest safely while more hotel developments are taking place along the beach line.”
The Hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, and TDIC has taken serious steps to guarantee that they can safely return to Saadiyat to lay their eggs during their nesting season between March and June. This includes the establishment of the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone as well as restricting resort development on Saadiyat Beach to at least 60 metres back from the seaward edge of the coastal dunes. The Environmental Services department works closely with TDIC’s partners on Saadiyat to monitor the marked nests as well as record any relevant information about the turtles’ nesting site, the gestation period of the eggs and how many hatchlings emerge.
Arabella Willing, Marine Biologist at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, said: “It’s so fantastic that we are able to live in harmony with a critically endangered species here on Saadiyat. Watching the baby turtles hatch from their nest and run to the sea is one of the best experiences in the world, and I’m so thrilled to have seen it happen again. After the nest inventory we discovered that more 80 babies had hatched, which is more than normal and fantastic news.”
After gestating for 50 – 70 days, hatchlings emerge from their nests and make their way to the sea. To ensure that they find their way safely, TDIC has put stringent measures in place. These include reducing lighting and the removal of any beach furniture at night. Moreover, guests and residents are asked to switch off outdoor lights when they are not outside, close their curtains at night to minimise light spill, refrain from going to the beach after dark and avoid turtle tracks so they can be recorded by TDIC.
“We are also closely observing seven additional nests located along the Saadiyat Beach stretch. Once they hatch, the number of baby turtles born on Saadiyat will reach over 1,100 since we established our Hawksbill turtle conservation programme. This would not be possible without the ongoing support and active participation of our operators and contractors on the beach,” added Dr. Staelens.
Currently, the Saadiyat Beach District is home to a lively mix of residential, retail, hospitality, dining and leisure offerings, with several additional developments under construction. Moreover, as a result of TDIC’s continued environmental commitment, Saadiyat Beach has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certification, for the second year in a row, for following strict criteria regarding water quality, environmental management, safety, site facilities and environmental education.
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