HATCHING TIME ON SAADIYAT ISLAND
In the upcoming weeks, some very special guests will be returning to Saadiyat Island. Every summer, Hawksbill turtles flock to Saadiyat’s nine-kilometre beach to build their nests. Currently an endangered species, the Hawksbill turtle has been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, as populations have declined over 80% in the past three decades. This compelled the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) to launch a turtle protection programme in Abu Dhabi in 2010 – the only one of its kind in the Arabian Gulf. To protect the turtle nests tucked in the dunes, guests are allowed access to the beach only via a raised boardwalk, so as not to interfere with the fragile ecosystem. At night, all the beach chairs are removed from the beach and night lights are dimmed to help the hatchlings with orientation.