Photo courtesy of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Turtle Rescue Center
Turtle Rescue Center at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu
Conservation efforts are critical to protect the low-lying islands that make up the Maldives, and efforts are under way to ensure their fragile natural environment is maintained. Ghost nets that have been abandoned by fishermen in the sea pose a major threat to species like turtles, which is why rescue centers have been set up at resorts such as the Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu to combat the problem. A staff team, including a veterinary surgeon and a resident marine biologist, work to protect sea turtles (and their habitats) by educating visitors and schoolchildren from neighboring islands like Thulhaadhoo and Hithaadhoo. They rehabilitate injured turtles and demonstrate how to remove the nets; they once even woke up some grateful guests in the middle of the night so they could watch as a giant turtle nested right on the beach. Teaching topics include marine ecology and medicine, and a similar initiative is set up at Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, where the resort team works with nearby communities to protect nesting sites and fight against human poachers.
By Tamara Elliott, AFAR Local Expert
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Resort, Baa Atoll, Maldives