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Join the turtle race

Staff Reporter / 5 July 2012

Now, nature lovers can keep track and vote for their favourite turtles online for the Great Gulf Turtle Race. You would be giving your favourite turtle the chance to win the titles of ‘Most Favourite Turtle’, or ‘The Longest Distance Travelled Turtle’.

On June 12, the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF) launched a symbolic virtual race that reports the distances these wild marine turtles are swimming in an interactive race board. The race for four weeks started on June 12 and will be ending on July 12, taking place on www.gulfturtles.com. This website also offers a wealth of information to its visitors.

“It is crucial we protect marine turtles, as they are an essential part of our marine environment. We are grateful to all our turtle sponsors for supporting this research project as well as the Great Gulf Turtle Race,” said Lisa Perry, Programme Director at EWS-WWF. The turtles have been released back to the sea within hours of coming to the shore to lay their eggs, and they are well into their marine journeys.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) recently sponsored tagging eight hawksbill turtles with wireless transmitters to compete in the race. The eight turtles being supported by Dewa are: Loulua, Al Jyoon, Al Fareeda, Al Dana, Al Durra, Hassa, Gumasha and Jumana.

The EWS-WWF Marine Turtle Conservation Project is using satellite-tracking technology to research the migration patterns of hawksbill turtles and identify their foraging grounds for post-nesting. During the past three years, the team has fitted 75 hawksbill turtles with wireless transmitters to track their movements.

All Emiratis and UAE residents are invited to vote for their favourite turtle in the virtual and symbolic Great Gulf Turtle Race as part of the science-based Marine Turtle Conservation Project, which has completed the tagging of hawksbill turtles in April and May, across Qatar, Oman and the UAE. The project aims to share the data and analysis with relevant authorities to guide effective conservation plans for this endangered species as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature listing (IUCN). Currently, according to statistics on the website, the most popular turtle, Lura Bora from Oman, has travelled 1,138ks and has gathered 56,732 votes.

“The sponsorship and support to the EWS-WWF Marine Turtle Conservation Project is an integral part of Dewa’s environmental strategy to consolidate a culture of sustainable development, raise awareness for environmental safety, and follow environment-friendly practices to conserve our natural resources for generations to come,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dewa.

Race updates can also be followed through Facebook: ews.wwf and Twitter: ews_wwf and via the hashtag: #wheresthatturtle.


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