Oman beaches home to many turtle species
May 13, 2017 | 10:03 PM
by ONA
Ras Al-Jinz in Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve, is the largest turtle nesting site in the world. Photo-ONA

Masirah: Oman has five of the seven species of turtles found in the world, four of which nest on the shores of the Sultanate.

They are the Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and the Olive Turtle. The Leatherback Turtle cruises the Sultanate’s beaches searching for food only.

Turtles are an important factor in the marine biological balance. They provide nutrients to the beaches through nests and eggs. Small turtles trapped on the shore are a cultural treasure of the Omani environment and a source of attraction for tourists and lovers of marine environment.

The national interest in turtles and their numbering began in 1977 on Masirah Island in order to know the spread and distribution of turtles in the sea, determining the migration and nesting lines, in addition to identifying the rate of growth and number of laying eggs in each season.

Monitoring patrols

There are ongoing patrols to monitor the site of turtles and conservation of nesting beaches, in addition to awareness and education campaigns for their importance in various governorates of the Sultanate.

Among the turtle nesting on Masirah Island is the Loggerhead Turtle. There are more than 30,000 such turtles. They are different from other turtles by having bigger head. They live in coral reefs and feeds on hellfish, oysters, crabs and sea urchins. They lay about 125 eggs at a time.

The Olive Turtle is the smallest species of sea turtle and it is the smallest species of turtle nesting in the Sultanate. The number is estimated at 150 to 200 turtles nesting on Masairah Island and laying about 190 eggs at a time.

The Hawksbill Turtle is nesting densely in the reserve of Dimaniyat Islands.

Their number is estimated at about 500 in the lesser Dimaniyat archipelago. They nest in smaller numbers on the Masairah Island.

The Hawksbill Turtle lays about 132 eggs at a time.

The Green Turtle, which is nested in large numbers on most Omani beaches, estimated to number more than 20,000 turtles per year.

It is the largest in the western Indian Ocean region. Ras Al-Jinz in Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve, is the largest turtle nesting site in the world. The green turtle puts 132 eggs at a time.

Finally, the Leatherback Turtle, which does not nest in the Omani coast, is present at sea for feeding and is usually found in Oman either dead on the beach or caught by fishing nets.

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