The first Hawksbill turtle nests of the year have successfully hatched on Saadiyat Beach. The site, located adjacent to the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas saw over 80 baby turtles emerge from the nest.
Over the years, Tourism Development & Investment Company, the master developer of Saadiyat Island has taken steps to ensure the safe return of the critically endangered turtles. This includes the establishment of the Saadiyat Dune Protection Zone as well as restricting resort development on Saadiyat Beach to at least 60 metres back from the seaward edge of the coastal dunes.
Other measure include reducing lighting and removal of any beach furniture at night. Guests and residents are also asked to switch off outdoor lights when they are not outside, to draw their curtains at night to minimise light spill, and to refrain from visiting the beach after the dark.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi also helps the tourism authority with the programme. The hotel’s marine biologist Arabella Willing said: “It’s so fantastic that we are able to live in harmony with a critically endangered species here on Saadiyat. Watching the baby turtles hatch from their nest and run to the sea is one of the best experiences in the world, and I’m so thrilled to have seen it happen again.
"After the nest inventory we discovered that more 80 babies had hatched, which is more than normal and fantastic news.”
TDIC head of environmental services Nathalie Staelens said: “We are also closely observing seven additional nests located along the Saadiyat Beach stretch. Once they hatch, the number of baby turtles born on Saadiyat will reach over 1100 since we established our Hawksbill turtle conservation programme.
"This would not be possible without the ongoing support and active participation of our operators and contractors on the beach.”