Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Sultanate of Oman observed ‘World Turtle Day’ with a sand sculpture competition at the Al Waha Hotel beach area.
Resort employees from different departments formed seven teams named after different species of sea turtles, namely Hawsbill, Green Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley, Flatback, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley. Each team rendered their best sand sculpture for the theme, “Under the Sea with Sea Turtles.” After 45 minutes of team work, the judges had a difficult decision to make in naming a winner. The sales and marketing ‘flat back’ team won the competition for the creative rendering and meaningful message of its sculpture.
The sand sculpting activity supports the objective of the American Tortoise Rescue organization to bring attention to and increase knowledge of and respect for turtles and tortoises. Since the organization first sponsored World Turtle Day in 2000, the occasion is now celebrated worldwide in different ways, such as turtle rescue, research activities and awareness campaigns.
Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is privileged to have two species that come ashore, namely, the rare green turtle and the frequent visitor, the critically endangered hawksbill turtle. The period between January to June is the main turtle season. The record in 2011 is the highest, with a total of 152 turtles nesting on the resort’s beaches and producing approximately 10,000 hatchlings. In 2012, a total of 104 turtles produced 5,548 hatchlings. As of May this year, 95 turtles have laid eggs on the beaches.
The resort is fully committed to the care and protection of turtles in Oman. Through Shangri-La’s Turtle Care Programme and a dedicated turtle ranger, Mohammed Al Hasani, the resort is able to raise awareness, share information to hotel guests, provide a sanctuary for mother turtles, care for the hatchlings and protect these endangered species.