Homegrown hospitality brand Coco Collection’s turtle internship programme made headlines recently – the story ran on CNBC, Lonely Planet Travel News and Mental Floss to name a few. The two-week internship is open to applicants 18 years and older, and requires them to submit a two to three-minute video and a 500-word cover letter. 

Coco Collection is partnered with a turtle charity for rescuing, rehabilitating and protecting turtles – the Olive Ridley Project (ORP). 

The small Olive Ridley turtles are the most abundant in our waters. Despite the name, ORP doesn’t limit its efforts to just this species, they help all turtles equally.  

The project began in the Maldives in 2013 when marine biologist Martin Stelfox encountered a large number of OR turtles trapped in free-roaming ‘ghost nets’ in the Maldivian seas. These are lost or discarded commercial fishing nets that endanger numerous marine fauna including sharks, rays, dolphins and whales. 

Local fishermen don’t use nets but engage in sustainable pole and line fishing. 

One of ORP’s goals is to remove and recycle these drifting death nets. 

In February 2017, ORP and Coco Collection got together to open a marine turtle rescue centre at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, a resort in the UNESCO Baa Atoll biosphere reserve.  

The internship winner will get to work at this centre, which is equipped with x-ray, ultrasound and full surgical facilities.  

The winner will also have the opportunity to learn first-hand from UK’s leading turtle vet Dr Claire Petros. Internship duties include cleaning tanks, feeding turtles, educating guests and updating social media. It’s not for the faint of heart, however, as the intern must observing surgeries and medical procedures as well as go on rescue missions.  

The winner gets to stay at a beach villa, and dine like a guest at Dhuni Kolhu’s main restaurant. Return flights as well as air transfers to and from the resort are also taken care of by the brand. 

Visit: https://cococollection.com/en/coco/competition for full terms and conditions.

Locals, don’t despair – you’re eligible to a three-month paid internship at the resort, exclusive to Maldivians, where you get to learn turtle husbandry and medicine. This is an ongoing annual programme that aims to educate locals on all turtle-related matters.