Kuwait”s turtles listed as threatened

The steady decline in the number of turtles in Kuwait, who are often left to fend for themselves against the urban sprawl, has led to their listing as vulnerable and endangered species.

International laws protecting turtles are enforced due to the drop in numbers. Turtles are seldom seen along the Gulf shores, which is due to development projects and other constructions and activities along and within the waters.

Director of Live Resources at the Environment Public Authority (EPA), Mona AlـFaraj, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that sea turtles were included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for these reasons.

She said that turtles were not only protected by the international convention, but also by laws issued by the EPA out of its belief in the biodiversity of turtles.

AlـFaraj stated that Article 81 of an EPA decision prohibited killing, fishing, capturing, collecting or harming wild and marine species or damaging their nests and eggs. The article also prohibits damaging coral reefs and its components, except for health or scientific purposes.

Meanwhile, a member of Kuwait Environmental Protection Society”s diving team, Walid AlـShatti expressed the team”s readiness to assist in preserving sea turtles.

He said that the diving team had previously organized a national campaign for the protection of marine life, to save them from what he termed “death nets.”

AlـShatti said that the team managed to rescue five big turtles and 55 smaller ones, including those who were trapped close to AlـShuaiba plant.

Zoology researcher at Kuwait University, Salim AlـMuhanna, further explained that the incubation of turtles” eggs and rearing young turtles had became a common procedure in an attempt to protect Kuwait”s turtles from complete extinction.

Source: KUNA