Rehabilitated turtles released into the sea

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Seventy-five Hawksbill sea turtles has been released back into the Arabian Gulf after being rehabilitated.

The critically endangered animals were treated by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project at the Burj Al Arab after being brought in by conservation organisations and members of the public.

Gerhard Beukes, who heads the Project, told ARN News about the kinds of issues the turtles have when they're brought in.

"The turtles that end up with us are invariably either injured with critical damage that can come from boat strikes or entanglement with fishing lines or nets, or they could also be compromised with lung infections.

"Often times, when the turtles are weak and debilitated, they end up having barnacles growing on them, which debilitates them even further."

Beukes also called for any members of the public who come across sick or injured turtles on the beach to get in touch with experts, rather than trying to care for the animals themselves.

"When a turtle is washed up on the shore its not just the barnacles, there are often underlying causes. It takes expert veterinary care, like blood work, x-rays, all sorts of things that cost a lot of money.

"It could take anything between four months to up to four years until the turtle is fit enough to return to the sea.

"Often times people try that and they just remove the barnacles, and then we get a clean turtle washed up again a few days later."

Beukes added that residents who take turtles in are "just trying to do good", but that they should contact the DTRP or other conservation organisations who can offer proper care.

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