Saudi environmental stewards release hawksbills

30 June, 2021

- by KAUST News

Scientists from KAUST and the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) have been working to rescue wildlife along the Red Sea coast. A team recently released two Hawksbill sea turtles named Amal (Hope) and Hayat (Life). 


The initiative was headed up by RSRC, KAUST alumna and Protected Species Science Manager Royale Hardenstine and her colleague at TRSDC, Senior Compliance and Enforcement Manager, Khalid Aldahlawi. Hardenstine and Aldahlawi train local volunteers as environmental stewards to monitor the shoreline for injured wildlife. The stewards program provides education, training and awareness that empowers local residents to preserve the environment.

A group of stewards joined the scientists to release turtles by hand close to Al Wakati island, a protected area within TRSDC marine area. The island has been dedicated as a nesting reserve for these critically endangered turtles.

A group of scientists and local stewards worked together to release Hawksbill turtle near Wakati island in the Red Sea Development Company. Image courtesy of Dr. Susann Rossbach.

The work is a collaboration between the Red Sea Development Company, KAUST and Fakeeh Aquarium. Thanks to Dr. Royale Hardenstine and Khalid Aldahlawi. Thanks to KAUST research scientist Jesse Cochran and to Fakeeh Aquarium Technical Manager Jesus Bravo. And thanks to Environmental Chemical Science Manager at the KAUST Red Sea Research Center Dr. Susann Rossbach, for underwater footage of the turtles.