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Ford Helps Put Endandered Kuwait Marine Turtles on Road to Recovery

Submitted by: Ford Motor Company

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Sep 17, 2001 – 12:00 AM EST


Kuwait Marine Turtle Interest Group's Gulf-Wide Salvation Project Moves Forward Thanks To Ford Programme Support
- 2001 Grants Application Submission Deadline Is October 1

Two marine turtle species on the coast of Kuwait are well on their way towards salvation, thanks to a grant from Ford Motor Company.

Turtles have always been a human favourite with their ponderous crawl, awkward gait and dedicated beach incubation of their eggs. Yet human progress turned enemy to their continued existence on Kuwait’s Karu Island where the hawksbill and green turtles once abounded. These two marine turtle species are now on the world’s official endangered and threatened lists respectively.

Their presence was being threatened by the construction of a helicopter-landing pad on the island. The constructors had unwittingly sited the main structure directly over a nesting area, due to insufficient information about the habits of marine turtles in the area.

To counter and reverse the damage, a group of volunteers formed the Kuwait Marine Turtle Interest Group (KMTIG). A year ago, after it presented a strong case to the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants, it was awarded $10,000 by the GCC jury.

This programme - which has been endorsed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - is one of the largest of its kind in the world and aims to help protect the environment and conserve natural resources by recognizing and supporting on-going projects submitted by individuals, community groups or other non-profit organizations, selected by an independent panel of distinguished Middle East environmental authorities.

Today, KMTIG reports a great leap forward in its efforts to galvanise local and international interest in the plight of the area’s turtles because of its Marine Turtle Habitat Protection Programme. It also assembles and distributes vital data on the turtles, for use by international bodies with similar objectives, contributing to global efforts to preserve both species in the Gulf.

KMTIG chairman Fahed Al-Sumait, said: "The Ford grant enabled us to organize a symposium to which persons, organisations and government bodies, which could influence the success of our campaign to save turtles in the Gulf, was invited. It culminated in reducing costly duplication of activities, and today we are more co-ordinated.

"We have now the foundation for a salvation effort which is not only limited to Kuwait but has spread to the Gulf in general."

Quarterly meetings among relevant parties and the invaluable input of outside experts, such as Dr Nicolas Pilcher, the Shell Research Fellow of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the University of Malaysia, are now a reality.

There are also stronger ties with international authorities. Through the vice-chairman of the Western Indian Ocean Specialist Group and United Arab Emirates based marine turtle expert, Dr Saif Al Ghais, the group accesses an international mainstream of bodies determined to save the world’s seven species of marine turtles. The group intends to continue its work with greater education of local communities, to increase their involvement in the effort as well as collect more data next year.

Introduced in the GCC countries last year, and this year extended to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria with a 50 per cent increase in funding, the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants are one of many actions undertaken by Ford Motor Company to help protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

Projects in four areas - natural environment, environmental education, conservation engineering, and preservation of historical cultural heritage - may apply for grants. Application forms are available as follows:

In Kuwait: from Arabian Motors Group (AMG), the Ford, Lincoln and mercury importer-dealer in Kuwait or from the offices of the Environment Public Authority of Kuwait.

In Saudi Arabia: from Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Co., the Lincoln importer-dealer in the Kingdom, Haji Hussain Alireza, the Mercury importer-dealer in the Kingdom, and the offices of the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation & Development (NCWCD) in Riyadh.

In Oman: from Bahwan Automotive Centre, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in Oman or from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources.

In the UAE: from the offices of the Emirates Environmental Group in Dubai and the Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency in Abu Dhabi.

In Qatar: from Almana Motors, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in Qatar or from the offices of Higher Committee for the Protection of the Environment & Natural Reserves.

In Bahrain: from Almoayyed Motors, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in Bahrain or from the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment.

In Lebanon: from Boustany-Dahdah Automobiles, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in Lebanon or from the offices of Environment & Development magazine.

In Jordan: from the Commercial & Industrial Co., the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in the Kingdom or from the offices of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN).

In Syria: from Syrian Cars & Services, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury importer-dealer in Syria, and the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs in Damascus.

Entries currently are being accepted and may be submitted until October 1, 2001. Application forms, as well as information about the programme in English and Arabic, are also available on www.ford-environmentgrants.com where participants can download the application forms or keep in touch with regular news and updates on the For Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants.

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