Mohammed Al Hassani, turtle ranger, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah resort, Oman.
Ever since he was a child, Mohammed would help turtles trapped in nets when he went swimming with friends. Years later he managed to turn a hobby into a career
My typical day involves. . .
Starting work at 11am, but during nesting season my hours change and I work from 4pm to 2am. During the morning I prepare the equipment to protect the nests and make sure all the signage warning guests not to step on the turtles is in the right place. I also make sure all the information about the turtle breeding is up to date for everyone to read. In the late afternoon, I often do ‘Turtle Talks’ for guests, sharing my life’s experience of the animals and talking about their behaviour and breeding habits. Then at night I carry out the turtle tracking.
I’ve been in my job for…
Eleven years. When I was 15 the Five Oceans Environment Services appointed me as one of their ambassadors. I knew lots of turtles went to Shangri-La’s beach to lay eggs and I knew the hotel created a sanctuary for animals, so I decided to join them.
I became a ranger because…
When I was a child, I used to go snorkelling with my brothers and friends at Qantab Beach. Whenever I spotted turtles stuck in a net, I would rescue them and release them back into the sea. It became my hobby and now it’s my job.
Oman is one of the world’s most important areas for sea turtles as five out of seven species visit the waters here and four of these nest on its beaches throughout the year.
At Shangri-La we have two species nesting on our beaches: the endangered Green Turtle and our most frequent visitor, the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle.
The most rewarding part of my job is…
Watching the reaction of guests when they see a turtle hatchling. When turtles hatch, they struggle to survive from predators. Once the mother lays her eggs they leave them and never come back. So many guests will come to watch, from young children to adults. They’re so excited to see them reaching the ocean safely. The happy faces of the resort guests gives me great satisfaction and I can’t ask for more.
To relax I like to…
Go camping with friends in winter and I love snorkelling and fishing during the summer.
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