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‘Only 1 out of 1000 turtles have a chance of surviving naturally, humans make it even less’

In a ‘turtley’ great turn of events, Stand Up for Our Seas make excellent time in the water, deliver successful presentation to Dusit Thani Maldives on the importance of protecting local turtle populations.

Rae Munavvar
25 February 2019, MVT 21:28
The 5-star luxury resort Dusit Thani Maldives. PHOTO: JAMES APPLETON/STAND UP FOR OUR SEAS
Rae Munavvar
25 February 2019, MVT 21:28

The four environmentalists paddled 11kilometres, on Sunday, heading from Kihaad to sandbank nearby before continuing on to Dusit Thani Maldives

Having spent the night on the Dhoni docked at Kihadhoo after a long day of battling ghosts nets and waves, the Stand up for Our Seas team began the next morning at a very early 0530 hours with a renewed zest.

Dr Cal Major paddles near Kihadhoo Island. PHOTO: JAMES APPLETON/STAND UP FOR OUR OCEAN

In true conservation spirit, the 5-star resort welcomed all team members with glass reusable bottles, followed by a special lunch where drinks were dotted with reusable metal straws.

Afterwards, the team delivered a presentation to Dusit Thani’s staff as well as interested guests.

The talk centred mainly around the subject of marine conservation, particularly highlighting Olive Ridley Project (ORP) and the work carried out by the organization in Maldives, including a segment on turtle identification and how that data is utilized to asses the country’s turtle population.

Team member Ibrahim Shameel spoke of his experience working in marine conservation in Maldives, and how his passion is working to bridge the gap between scientists and local communities.

The presentation featured interesting facts about turtles such as the patterns on the face of each turtle which are as unique and as identifiable as a human fingerprint and although globally endangered, the Hawksbill Turtle is not alone in Maldives where it enjoys the company of a healthy population.

It also did not shy away from less pleasant realities, stressing that while only 1 in 1000 turtles have the chance of surviving to adulthood naturally, human factors decrease already bleak odds considerably more. The team even spoke of ORP’s namesake, the Olive Ridley turtle, which is an open ocean not commonly seen around the reefs of the island nation. The only sightings are of Olive Ridley's entangled in ghost nets that drift with the current into local waters, however, to date over 400 Olive Ridley turtles have been found in Maldives.

“We learnt that Dusit Thani has several environmental education programmes for their guests including a plankton workshop which helps inform the guests’ snorkelling trips,” said Claire, adding the teams wish to have extended the afternoon had they had more time

A productive evening by all accounts, yet waters remained cooperative and choppy. Fortunately for the team, however, they were not to be greeted by the harshest winds on this day.

Paddling strongly against the early morning currents, the environmentalists enthusiastically noted having acquired a much better grip of the physical activity and report that keeping pace together has become far easier a task.

From Dusit Thani, the Stand up for Our Seas team headed towards luxury resort Amilla Fushi.

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