Muscat: Nesting season for turtles is in full swing on the sandy beaches of Oman.
Oman is home to five species of turtles: the Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle, four of which lay their eggs on the Sultanate’s soft white sand beaches.
Of these, the green turtle has one of the biggest nesting sites in the Ras Al Hadd sanctuary—one of the largest nesting sites in the Indian Ocean. The Masirah Island on the other side is an important nesting site for the Loggerhead turtle.
“The nesting season begins in May and continues till August and we are expecting more than 15,000 turtles at Ras Al Hadd, which is an internationally renowned nesting site sanctuary for the turtles,” said Vijay Handa, cluster general manager, Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve Centre, which is part of the Ras Al Hadd Sanctuary.
Speaking about turtle season at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Rebecca Platt, director of Communications, pointed out that so far the 2016 turtle season has been very positive, with the resort welcoming over 4,000 turtle hatchlings to date from 80 nests, which reflects an increase in the number of successful hatchings from 2015.
“As our environment is so important to the resort, we undertake a number of conservation activities to protect the turtles from beach clean ups to the work of our dedicated turtle ranger Mohammed Al Hasani. We also feel that education is key to the survival of the turtles and recently launched our Eco Centre, where guests and visitors can learn more about the environment in which we live and how everyone can contribute to the protection of the turtles,” she noted.
During the nesting season, adult female loggerheads, some weighing as much as 150 kilograms, leave the sea at night and lumber onto the beach. Then, mustering their courage, the turtles use their rear flippers to dig a shallow pit in the sand—a protective cavity where the eggs will incubate.
June, July and August are the best season to see these turtles on the beaches of Oman.