Where do the Green Turtles of Khor Kalba go?

By Divi S.

SHARJAH 28 January 2018: The Environment and Protected Areas Authority, EPAA, has launched a study on turtles in collaboration with the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS-WWF).

The study aims to discover more about the living and feeding habits of the juvenile green turtles that can be found in high densities in the waters of the Al Qurm creek and mangroves adjacent to Khor Kalba, in Sharjah’s eastern region, said Wam.

team turtle kalba

In order to carry out the study, environmental specialists from both organisations set out to capture and tag the turtles on Sunday at Khor Kalba, a designated nature reserve. Information from the study, combined with other EPAA work, will help shed light on the threats to turtles in the area and guide development of a more detailed turtle conservation plan.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, “Juvenile Green Turtles feed in the waters of the Al Qurm mangroves but it is unknown whether the turtles remain in the mangroves for most of their life, or leave daily to feed in the open ocean. It is not known where these turtles were born or where they go when they become adults. This study will help us to answer some of these questions.”

greenback turtle kalba

Al Suwaidi added that the study will combine with other EPAA and EWS-WWF research in order to understand the importance of the Al Qurm mangroves for turtle protection. “It will also be the first attempt to gather long-term information on green turtle movements on Sharjah’s east coast,” she said.

Once captured, the turtles are fitted with a tag that transmits information on their movements to a satellite. EWS-WWF are providing the satellite transmitter and will use the study to gather more data for their long-term turtle research projects throughout the UAE.

“This day of catching and sampling turtles will also help guide future capture and sampling protocols as the project expands to gather data from multiple turtles. The project is among many launched by EPAA to protect the Emirates’ environment and preserve biodiversity for generations to come,” Al Suwaidi said.

greenback turtle

Environmentalists from the EPAA and EWS-WWF have attached a satellite transmitter to one juvenile green turtle to track its movements for the next six months and also took tissue samples from turtles for a genetic study. They also measured and documented all the turtles caught and developed a clear method for capture and sampling for future research work.

[Image credit: Emirates Wildlife Society, EWS-WWF Twitter: @ewf_wwf]