LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas rounded off the year with a generous donation of US$10,092 to the non-profit organisation Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP).

The Mauritius-based hospitality group raised the funds in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. A 10-night stay in a Romantic Pool Water Villa was auctioned off to the highest bidder through its Instagram page.

“We are grateful to all the followers that have participated in this auction and helped us celebrate our milestone – 10 years of helping people celebrate life,” said Patrice Aira, General Manager at LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort & Villas. 

“Our marine biology team has been working closely with MWSRP over the past 9 years by collecting data on the whale sharks that we spot on the excursions and submitting it to MWSRP’s research database. As one of the largest resort islands in the destination, we are committed to leading the way with eco-tourism and marine conservation work in our community and region.”

Richard Rees, co-founder and managing director of MWSRP, said: “Like many grassroots conservation organisations, this pandemic has hit our charity hard. This donation is hugely appreciated and will be used funding the redevelopment and relaunching of our Whale Shark App and the Big Fish Network – an active citizen science portal which aims to increase community and stakeholder involvement towards the research and conservation of the whale sharks in the Maldives. This donation will also be a great help in creating more training and briefing tools for guides as well as expanding the awareness campaigns.”

The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to the study of the gentle giants and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives as well as the greater Indian Ocean.