Oman’s Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtle population on Masirah Island is considered among the largest in the world, comprising some 30,000 nesting females each year, and at Ras Al-Hadd and Ras Al-Jinz, Oman hosts the region’s largest aggregation of nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas), with upwards of 5,000 females. This project, instigated at the request of the Omani Ministry of Rural Municipalities and Environment, aimed to provide the additional beach monitoring equipment (ATVs) to enable to rangers to effectively canvas a large area, and assistance in designing and implementing sound survey practices which can be extrapolated to represent the entire nesting zone. Limitations to conservation action stem primarily from a lack of All-Terrain-Vehicles (ATVs) to survey beaches that are inaccessible by car and too long to survey on foot, manpower, and detailed knowledge of statistically strong data extrapolation methods which would guide beach sub-sampling.
Two ATVs were purchased in Oman and delivered to stations in Ras Al-Hadd and Masirah, along with spare tires and other standard parts and supplies. These ATVs were made available in July 2005 following the site visit by the MRF. An additional two ATVs had already been purchased by the Omani ministry in June 2005, as their matching contribution to the project. The ATV motorcycles have since allowed additional beach coverage and increased spatial expansion of the data collection along the Masirah coast, and have replaced the older units at Ras Al Hadd. These equipment contributions are viewed as critical to enable the Omani rangers to continue patrolling the beaches and collecting valuable biological data on marine turtles. Due to shipping constraints, the trailers were not purchased or shipped to Oman until later in the season. MRF personnel travelled to Oman to discuss the implementation of a sound population assessment methodology designed with MTSG expertise, and to assist in the implementation of the methods, including assessments of nesting success and determination of reproductive output.
This project was implemented as a joint project between the Marine Research Foundation and the Omani Ministry of Rural Municipalities and Environment, and was funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.