By James Langton
Like many an expectant mother before her, she decided to give birth at a time that suited her best.
And so, about 6am and with the rest of the city barely awake yesterday, the first Hawksbill turtle of this year's nesting season crawled out of the sea to deposit her eggs on the beach at Saadiyat Island.
Acting as midwives on this occasion were members of the island's beach patrol, trained as first responders in turtle birthing.
Keeping a respectful distance, they put a call through to Dr Nathalie Staelens, the head of environmental services at the Tourism Development Investment Company, whose task is not just to build hotels and museums on Saadiyat, but also protect the island's wildlife and outstanding natural beauty.
Dr Staelens says she rushed to the beach: "But she had just gone back to sea." Instead, she set about securing the nesting site, which in about 60 days will produce perhaps as many as 70 baby turtles.
Hawksbills are a critically endangered species and Saadiyat is an important breeding ground.
But it is also home to a growing number of visitors, drawn by its hotels and beach clubs. Keeping the balance between man and nature is a key part of TDIC's environmental mission. According to Dr Staelens: "Turtles dig in a few spots to confuse potential predators before laying, so we don't necessarily know which hole contains the eggs." More....