Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Environment Authority, celebrated World Turtle Day, which falls on May 23 of each year.
In addition to drawing attention to the vulnerability of some species of turtles facing extinction, it encourages global humanitarian action for the conservation of turtles.
On this occasion, the Environment Authority organised various activities for children and adults, which included educational and recreational activities aimed at introducing the importance of sea turtles and contributing to their protection.
The Sultanate of Oman is an important nesting site for sea turtles worldwide, especially on Masirah Island, with an estimated number of about 30,000 turtles hatching per year.
Green turtles are among the most common species found on a number of beaches in the Sultanate of Oman, the most important of which are the beaches of the Turtle Reserve in the Niyabat of Ras Al Hadd in the Governorate of South Al Sharqiyah, in addition to the olive turtle and the vervain turtle, in small numbers that do not exceed between 150 and 100, respectively.
The Environment Authority continues to work on programmes to protect sea turtles in the Sultanate of Oman through the implementation of a number of environmental projects, including the sea turtle registration and numbering programme, which deals with collecting data on the spread and distribution of sea turtles, knowing their migration lines, feeding and nesting places.
In addition to the remote monitoring project of green marine turtles, which is being implemented in various regions of the Sultanate of Oman, the EA provides data on the life and behaviour of sea turtles and tracks their migration path through special global sites for tracking sea turtles.
The five-year project between the EA and the Fish and Wildlife Service Agency of the Federal Government of the United States of America aims to study the success rate of Al Rimani turtle nests on the beaches of the state of Masirah Island, identify sites of relative importance for nesting on different beaches, and determine the factors that affect the success of nesting, hatching, spatial planning, and measures to control the use of beaches to ensure optimal use and the development of national capacities to manage environmental resources.
The project to prepare an action plan for the conservation of sea turtles in the Sultanate of Oman, in cooperation with the Environment Society of Oman and the use of international experts in the field of sea turtle protection, seeks to protect sea turtles according to a strategic approach, which includes assessing the current situation, opportunities and challenges to protect sea turtles, as well as identifying priorities for action and proposing implementation mechanisms.
The voluntary environmental awareness project in the field of turtle protection, which is the “Turtle Commando” programme launched by the authority in 2021, is concerned with the protection, control and monitoring of sea turtles. It enjoys wide participation from Omani youth and is held annually for six months in the Turtle Reserve in the Al Sharqiyah South Governorate, and for three months on Masirah Island.
The Authority responds to the cases of death and stranding of sea turtles through communications received through the Authority’s hotline 80061999and they are treated and rehabilitated in cooperation with Oman Aquarium, and then returned to the sea.
The Environment Authority is committed to implementing many awareness seminars and informative boards on various beaches, and is working on numbering and counting turtles in addition to carrying out continuous monitoring and control on all beaches. It also carries out campaigns to clean nesting beaches as well as coral reefs and guide visitors to the reserve to participate with the local community.