Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar is a significant nesting area for the Hawksbill turtles, yet it's also the country's most important gas producer. Ras Laffan has reconciled these two seemingly incompatible functions by teaming up with the Environmental Studies Center (ES Center) of Qatar University in a bid to preserve the marine creature's future.
The ES Center has carried out a site survey, sponsored by RasGas, to monitor turtle nesting and activities, and to collect biological data to help formulate long-term conservation strategies. Of the seven living species of marine turtle worldwide, all are listed as endangered or vulnerable. The Hawksbill turtle is one of them.
Natrual obstacles faced by youn sea turtles are numerous and on the increase. Some of their predators include ghost crabs, mice, foxes, birds, dogs, sharks, and carnivorous fish. Human activities are also hazardous to the species survival. Turtle shell trading and egg collecting are still popular, while heavy construction, litter and noise can also be detrimental to the turtles existence. It is estimated that only one in 1,000 to 10,000 will survive to adulthood.
Qatar is determines to protect its turtles. The Ras Laffan beaches have been cleared of debris and noise levels are kept to a minimum during the nesting season. If a turtle lays its eggs in close proximity to a gas pipeline or associated construction works, they are carefully moved to a designated turtle nest reolcation plot and fenced off to safeguard against predators.
More info at http://www.rasgas.com/l_4.cfm?L3_id=5&L2_id=2&L4_ID=19
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