Tens of Thousands of Turtle Lovers Cheer on Murjana as She Crosses the Finish Line of The Great Gulf Turtle Race
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July 11, 2012: Dubai, UAE: Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) has announced this year’s winner of The Great Gulf Turtle Race, which has roused enormous public support for turtle conservation in the region. The race has come to a close after four weeks, and one turtle has been crowned the winner.
Murjana sponsored by an anonymous sponsor earned the title of long distance traveller, clocking a total of 1343 kilometres since the start of the race, followed closely by Al Fareeda sponsored by DEWA with 1264 kilometres and Shelby sponsored by YPO securing third place with 1212 kilometres.
Members of the community cast their votes and cheered for their favourite turtles via the race website www.gulfturtles.com contributing to a colossal 156,000 ‘cheers’ throughout the four week period.
The title of most popular turtle Laura Bora sponsored by Gulftainer received a huge 61,187 “cheers.” This shows a staggering growth in the popularity stakes compared to last year’s winner with 1,800 votes.
Rimani who was sponsored by Jumeirah at Etihad Towers came second in the popularity stakes with 34,169 votes while Hooter, also sponsored by Gulftainer clinched third with 22,094 votes.
The number of unique visitors to the race website has also increase on last year’s figures, rising from 4,000 to an astounding 100,000 individuals, demonstrating the staggering increase in support from the community.
The virtual race kicked off on June 12, 2012, in a bid to raise awareness about the plights facing Hawksbill turtles, as part of the EWS-WWF Marine Turtle Conservation Project, which aims to map key foraging areas vital to the future survival of this species
To help offset the costs of tagging, the turtles were sponsored by: DEWA (sponsored 8 turtles), Nokia (3 turtles), Gulftainer (2 turtles) , Momentum Logistics (2 turtles), Deutsche Bank (2 turtles), Emirates Palace (1 turtle), Fairmont Hotels and Resorts (1 turtle), Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa (1 turtle), Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (1 turtle), CASP (1 turtle), College of North Atlantic Qatar (1 turtle), YPO (1 turtle), The Club (1 turtle), 7Days (1 turtle) and Time Out Dubai (1 turtle).
“We have been overwhelmed with the level of interest from the community and the support from sponsors in the Great Gulf Turtle Race this year,” said Programme Director Lisa Perry. “Not only because it helps us drive forward with our conservation work, but the campaign educates people on the importance of protecting marine turtles.”
“We would also like to thank our partners in the UAE, Iran, Oman and Qatar for lending their support to the EWS-WWF team in tagging the turtles and the Marine Research Foundation.”
Scientific advisor to the project and founder of the Marine Research Foundation, Dr Nick Pilcher, said: "This project has now located several key feeding grounds, identified through repeat migrations of different turtles over the last three years, such as some areas in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, as well as small coral reefs off the coast of Abu Dhabi. It is amazing how science and public awareness can so seamlessly generate such great levels of enthusiasm and interest, knowing that in the end all this effort will go towards saving marine turtles.”
The Great Gulf Turtle Race is part of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project, a three-year programme launched by EWS-WWF in April 2010, aiming to pinpoint the migration patterns and locate feeding grounds in the Gulf of up to 75 post-nesting Hawksbill turtles using satellite tracking technology. The project will help form regional conservation strategies in a bid to help protect the Hawksbill turtle: listed as critically endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest from the Marine Turtle Conservation Project by visiting www.gulfturtles.com