Banyan Tree Marine Lab Maldives initiated a Turtle Identification Programme to track sea turtles residing and frequenting house reefs in Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru.
The resort launched the programme in January 2019, tracking populations of sea turtles with the aim of monitoring the populations of these highly-endangered animals.
The Marine Lab team uses technical software to identify the individual face pattern on the left or right side of the turtle’s head. Once the pattern is mapped out, it is stored in a database which is used to compare and identify new turtles according to the patterns.
The resort encourages its guests to contribute to the initiative by submitting images of turtles they encounter while snorkelling out on the reefs.
The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle is frequently spotted on the reefs, with high numbers of new turtles being identified. Each individual turtle is given a name, so that the team could more easily identify them while guiding snorkelers.
The Banyan Tree Marine Lab actively engages guests and associates with ongoing Marine Conservation activities and initiatives.
This includes Marine Talks given on topics that include turtle and shark conservation, effective reef restoration and monitoring, and a long-term shark monitoring programme aiming to assess the effectiveness of the nationwide shark-fishing ban introduced across the Maldives in 2010.
The Turtle ID Programme is one of the many initiatives implemented by the Banyan Tree Marine Lab and its Sustainability team.
Another initiative involves reusing abandoned drift-Ghost Nets, a major threat to sea turtles, into colourful bracelets.
This practice is to raise awareness about dangers to marine animals as well as the overall threat of marine plastic pollution to animal biodiversity and natural environments, as well as humans' own health.