Muscat: An initiative to protect, control and monitor the sea turtle population in the Sultanate, led by the Environment Authority (EA) and with the participation of the youth of Oman will be launched on Tuesday.
The three-month long initiative will encourage youth to volunteer for environment conservation projects, educate the local community inside the turtle reserves on best practises like not using lights, and teach them to protect and monitor sea turtles that net on Oman's beaches. In addition, it will also motivate them to keep the beaches clean of waste and to help with cleanup post cyclone Shaheen. The participants will undergo awareness training on the importance of turtles and then they will in turn transfer this knowledge to the community.
The EA said: "The idea of the Turtle Commandos program is based on several factors. Because of the global situation of the Covid-19 epidemic and the difficulty faced by foreign tourists in travelling to Oman; domestic tourism flourished and this led to a crowded turtle sanctuary with a large number of visitors who come to watch turtles nest and hatch babies without knowledge of the guidelines and laws of the reserve."
"In addition, because of the fewer number of inspection teams for the large number of visitors, a loss of control and lack of protection of turtles in the reserve has resulted in the past two years, and the program seeks to find effective solutions to meet this challenge," an EA official added.
The program aims to engage 40 participants per week from all governorates of the Sultanate, and to work on various activities and workshops that achieve the objectives of the program in the Ras Al Hadd Reserve in the Wilayat of Sur, and the implementation period of the program is the peak tourism period in the reserve.