WHAT YOU CAN DO
Here are five tips from the DTRP to help you get involved in saving UAE’s sea turtles the right way.
1. You should never clean them yourself If you spot a sea turtle on the beach, and it’s covered in barnacles, do not try to take the barnacles off on your own. Only professionals know how to do it without injuring the turtle. ‘A lot of people see washed-up turtles with barnacles on them and try to help by taking a knife or screwdriver, and trying to ply them off. But that causes internal bleeding, and we lose about 10 turtles every year because of people doing that,’ says David. 2. You should never feed them Sometimes, turtles washed up on the shore may have intestinal problems. Feeding them may make things worse. Also, being reptiles, turtles can go for a long time without feeding. 3. You should never take them home OR throw them back in to the water Not only is taking turtles home against UAE law, but it also endangers the turtle’s life. Giving a sick and injured turtle proper care requires expert attention. Sea turtles are wild animals that should not be kept in captivity as they may sustain injuries from small spaces. Throwing them back into the water while they’re sick or injured will delay their treatment.
The best thing to do is to take any found sea turtle to the drop-off point outside Burj Al Arab. Contact the DTRP team on 04 301 7198 or via Facebook to let them know that you’re coming. 4. Keep them hydrated If you find turtles on the beach and can take them to get proper treatment, you should place them in a container with just one centimetre of clean seawater to keep them hydrated. Make sure the water isn’t too cold. 5. Don’t litter – ever.