Marine turtles are listed as endangered and they belong to Animal Kingdom phylum , class Reptilia and are descendants from early reptiles. Marine turtles are long-living and the females lay many eggs. Each year, thousands of hatchlings emerge from their nests along many coastlines across the world. Natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are numerous and on the increase, including natural predators and human exploitation. Unfortunately, only an estimated one in 1000 to 10000 will survive to adulthood. Together with marine biologists at Qatar University, studies on marine turtles in the State of Qatar were initiated in 2002, sponsored by Ras Laffan Industrial City. The outcome of the 2002 study provided the baseline data needed for subsequent studies. It has now been established that only one species of the endangered extant marine turtles, the Hawksbill turtle, nests in the Gulf area and in Qatar along the northeastern sandy beaches and islands (Ras Laffan, Fewairit, Al Maronah, Al Ghariyah, Jazirat Ras Rakan, Jazirat Umm Al Tays and Halul Island).

Studies showed that Ras Laffan City is a major nesting area [No. of nests recorded since 2001: (2001: 74), (2002: 240), (2003:208), (2004: 190), (2005: 229), (2006:129), (2007:76), (2009: 72)]. An outcome of the studies since 2002 showed that females average clutch size varies between 65-78 eggs, which are incubated for 51-57 days in a nest temperature of 28.6⁰C – 33.3⁰C.

Since 2009, efforts to monitor the nesting population along the Qatar coastline have started and the satellite tracking of females continues. This showed the females remain in the Gulf waters between Ras Laffan moving north (Kingdom Bahrain – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and south to the UAE. One tracked female travelled a maximum distance of 1917 km in 147 days. A number of females have been tagged to date, of which 3 tagged in 2005 returned to nest in 2009. Between 2009 and 2010 over 40 females were tagged.


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  1. M.A. Al Ansi, Efforts in the State of Qatar to conserve and monitor endangered marine turtles, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, EEO10.
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