Turtles fitted with GPS trackers in Dhofar

MUSCAT: Seven turtles have been fitted with GPS tracking devices in Al Halaniyat Islands in Dhofar Governorate from May 2 to 9. A collaborative project between the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Environment Society of Oman (ESO) and Five Oceans Environmental Services, the first phase was implemented in Masirah Island last year. The tracking device fitted on the turtle’s shell sends a message to a satellite each time the turtle comes to the surface to breathe. The monitors at the data collection system then receive messages via the satellite regarding the location of the turtle and plot them onto a map.

The project is aimed at studying the turtles’ natural habitats as well as their behaviour and feeding habits. The project is also part of a blueprint approved in a memorandum of understudying signed by the Sultanate and the US and aimed at protecting the environment and conserving natural resources. The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) played an essential role in the experiments by providing air transport of the research team and equipment to and from the island.