Gulftainer turtle takes the honours in EWS-WWF turtle race

11 Jul 2012

Laura Bora tops the popularity chart by clinching highest number of votes

The Gulftainer sponsored Hawksbill Turtle, Laura Bora, topped the popularity poles by securing the highest number of votes after the completion of this year’s Great Gulf Turtle Race - an interactive part of the three-year Marine Turtle Conservation Project.

Sharjah-based Gulftainer, the largest privately owned port operator in the world, is sponsoring the project, launched by Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF, to create awareness about the plight of these creatures declared critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Research reveals that almost 80 percent of the Hawksbill turtle population has been lost in the past three generations of the species.

Securing 61,187 votes in total, Laura Bora was the second turtle to be fitted with a satellite-tracking chip for 2012. Caught near the Daymaniyat Islands in Oman, Laura Bora was released the same day after a tracking device was fitted over its shell in a painless procedure on April 19, this year. The transmitter sends a signal when the turtle surfaces to breathe, giving the EWS-WWF team its location on a map. Laura Bora took the honours as the clear favourite in the popularity segment of the race, winning by an astounding margin of 27,000 votes. She also maintained her place as one of the leading swimmers; in the third week alone, Laura Bora swam 445 km and in the fourth and final week of the race she completed 1186 km, putting her in 4th place in the race for the greatest distance covered.

Speaking about Gulftainer’s involvement with the project, Peter Richards, Managing Director of Gulftainer remarked, “It is always a pleasure to be able to work with the EWS-WWF, the work they have been doing with the Marine Turtle Conservation Project has provided the most valuable information. At Gulftainer we are very aware of our responsibility as custodians of this planet especially its vital oceans and our support of this project is just one of the many ways in which we work to ensure that we stay committed to preserving and protecting the wonders of the sea for the generations to come. We are of course also very happy to witness Laura Bora’s result as we were avidly following her progress during the race.” The project aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to conserve marine turtles in the region, and understand the post-nesting migrations and biology of these creatures through the use of satellite tracking. The information recovered from the satellite system helps identify the foraging grounds of endangered turtles, and linkages between nesting and feeding patterns.

Through the programme, which has entered into its third year, tracking data and findings will be shared with relevant authorities for the development of a marine turtle conservation plan at the regional level. The creatures, loved by many, are sadly at the verge of being extinct as their natural habitats are being destroyed by human activities and many of them die annually by being caught in fisheries unintentionally.

The Great Gulf Turtle Race, which was launched in 2011 to help raise awareness about the conservation needs of marine turtles, is a light-hearted bid to increase interest around these beautiful creatures and the plight they face as a critically endangered species. The turtle race plots the number of kilometers the satellite tagged turtles in the Gulf have swum. Twenty-eight Hawksbill turtles enter the race to compete to become the furthest travelled turtle and the most popular turtle.

Gulftainer Group has been operating in the UAE and around the world for over 35 years. In the UAE it operates three main UAE ports: two on behalf of the Sharjah Port Authority - Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) and Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT); and one in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the international plastics solutions company, Borouge.

Gulftainer has been able to maintain a strong position in the UAE through its ports at Sharjah and Khorfakkan, and KCT was named 'Shipping Port of the Year' at the Annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA 2011) in Dubai. In recent years it has also invested in Iraq and Brazil.



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