Muscat: Thirteen Loggerhead turtles were recently tagged in the Hallaniyat Islands in an initiative by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in Oman.
The Ministry, in partnership with the US Department of Interior and the Ecology Network, tagged 13 Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), in assistance with the Five Oceans Environmental Services. The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) also took part in the initiative.
The species is considered to have endangered or critically endangered conservation status.
Since the 1970s, the government authorities in Oman have been involved in protecting turtles by collaborating with national and international institutions, as well as the private sector.
A network of ranger teams have also been established, and are trained to monitor and help conserve turtle populations in key areas of the Sultanate including Dimaniyat Islands, Gulf of Oman and Ras Al Hadd, Masirah Island and Dhofar region (including Al Hallaniyat Islands, all across the Arabian Sea).
Turtle numbers and tracks are regularly registered on nesting beaches, where turtles are also tagged for studies of migration routes.
Tagging of sea turtles on nesting grounds has been carried out in the Sultanate for more than 20 years. Tagging turtles allows for the recognition of individuals or cohorts, and yields information on reproductive biology, growth rates, residency, and movements.
Tag returns of loggerheads show that turtles tagged on nesting grounds in Oman migrate to feeding grounds further north in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Gulf and to the coasts of Pakistan, and further south to the coast of Yemen.