Muscat – Environment Authority (EA) concluded the second edition of the Turtle Commando Programme, a project to protect endangered turtles and preserve Oman’s biodiversity, on Sunday.
The concluding ceremony was held under the auspices of Dr Yahya Badr al Maawali, Governor of South Sharqiyah.
The programme aimed to encourage youth to volunteer for environmental causes, rid beaches of fishing and plastic waste, conduct workshops to find solutions to the factors threatening turtles, educate participants about the importance of turtles and in turn transfer the knowledge to the community.
More than 270 volunteers from Oman and abroad participated in the programme, which lasted six months.
Participants worked at two locations – Ras al Hadd and Masirah Island – during the turtle nesting and hatching seasons.
The programme achieved several set objectives, including completion of 16,369 campaigns and awareness activities on the importance of sea turtles, environmental laws and guidelines.
The Turtle Commando Programme emerged following the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, the number of international tourists fell but domestic tourism flourished, leading to overcrowding in turtle reserves. While there were a large number of visitors to watch turtles nest and baby turtles hatch, there were few observers to instruct on the rules and regulations of the reserves. This led to irregularities and exposing turtles to risks in the reserves in the past two years. The programme aimed to find effective solutions to meet these challenges.