Earlier last May, the Ministry of Environment issued a reminder for residents to stay away from Qatar’s northeastern beaches in hopes of protecting the hatching venue for the endangered Hawksbill turtle.
The shores of northeastern Qatar has for long been a popular burial grounds for the eggs of female Hawksbill turtles, who return annually to lay up to hundreds of eggs. Fuwairat beach in particular.
The movement is part of the government’s efforts to help preserve the natural habitat where the endangered species is born. The Hawksbill turtle is easily frightened from noise, lights and debris, all of which chase them away.
New born baby turtles use the reflection of the moon to make their way into the ocean, so car lights and camp fires can lead them in other directions. Baby turtles who don’t make it to the water by daylight are preyed by shorebirds and crabs.
The Hawksbill turtle mates once every 1 to 4 years, and make their nests in April, filled with eggs which hatch in July.
The pregnant turtle carries her heavy body across the shore to find the perfect space for a nest, and lays her eggs after cleaning the area, and digging a hole with her tail.
The World Conservation Union classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered. The Hawksbill’s have been exploited for thousands of years. Human presence has posed both a direct and indirect threat, as people have killed a large number both deliberately and unintentionally. They are hunted for their shells and meat in various parts of the world, and are killed by accident when humans interfere with their habitats.