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“Critically endangered” plant species found in Kelaa mangrove

Shahudha Mohamed
09 October 2020, MVT 20:27
Aerial view of Haa Alif Atoll’s Kelaa. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
Shahudha Mohamed
09 October 2020, MVT 20:27

Ministry of Environment, on Thursday, announced that a rare and endangered species of mangrove plant, by the scientific name of “Brugueira hainesii”, was found in Maldives.

According to the ministry, the plants were identified during an ecological survey conducted at the wetlands of Kelaa, Haa Alif Atoll, in March.

The survey was conducted under the Regenerate Project funded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to collect details of the flora and fauna in eco-rich, protected areas of Maldives.

Environment Ministry disclosed that four of these unique plants were identified in Kelaa, confirmed by the Coordinator of IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group and MSG Red List, Dr Yong.

The species, listed under IUCN Red List’s “critically endangered” category, were previously found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysian Peninsula, Thailand and Myanmar.

According to statistics from 2010, only 200 fully grown plants of this species were identified at the time.

The ministry stated that efforts are currently underway to designate a local name for the plant.

With this new discovery, the ministry stated that 15 different mangrove plant species have been identified in Maldivian wetlands and mangroves.

However, some environmental activists asserted that “Brugueira hainesii” was identified in Haa Dhaalu Atoll’s Kulhudhuffushi mangrove.

Environmental movement Save Maldives stated that it was “extremely troubling when the Ministry of Environment has no idea what rare species are found where in Maldives”.

“The ministry's indecision continues to fail to #SaveKulhudhuffushiKulhi which it destroyed without assessing loss and damage to the island and its people”, they added, referring to the government-approved reclamation of the wetlands to establish an international airport on the island.

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