Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences has teamed up with the Olive Ridley Project for the monitoring and conservation of local turtles.
Nine individual turtles visit Amilla Maldives to feed and three that nest on the island regularly.
Amilla’s Marine Biologist Zoe Cox has been working alongside the organisation since the project started in the Maldives in 2017. She creates turtle IDs by taking pictures of each side of a turtle’s face when she spots them on the resort’s house reef or nesting, as the pattern is unique to each individual, after which the turtle IDs and nesting data are submitted to the Olive Ridley Project.
“It’s a great way to monitor populations, migrations, movement and turtle hotspots without physically tagging the turtles and harming them. It’s not even necessary to be a marine biologist to use this simple ‘turtle ID’ method, you just need a camera,” said Cox.
“Some species of turtle, such as Green Turtles, graze on seagrass, which is vital for removing carbon from the atmosphere. Grazed seagrass has higher metabolic carbon capture than ungrazed areas. Some species eat sponge and algae growing on the coral reef, which prevents them from out-competing the coral. And some turtles eat jellyfish, which helps keep their population in check. Their nesting also provides nutrients to the beaches in the form of eggshells and undeveloped eggs.”
Located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the waters surrounding Amilla Maldives are popular spots for turtles to feed, play and nest. According to the resort, as Olive Ridley Project did not have a resident marine biologist based in the area, Amilla took the initiative to fill the gap by partnering with the organisation. With an Olive Ridley resident Marine Biologist on the island, the resort hopes to elevate its conservation efforts.
Amilla Maldives is also raising awareness of turtle poaching in the area, while aiming to educate the public about the damage to the ecosystem as well as the economy. Earlier this year, the resort celebrated World Turtle Day by offering guests the chance to either sponsor Amilla’s local turtles or choose names for them. A special turtle excursion was held as well with proceeds donated to the Olive Ridley Project.
The resort also offers its younger guests the opportunity to learn more about turtles and other aquatic creatures with its Mini Marine Biologist programme.
The five-star resort achieved Silver EarthCheck Certification last year, placing it among the leading sustainable tourism operators certified to the internationally recognised EarthCheck Company Standard with the exclusive EarthCheck seal of approval.
Click here to read more about Amilla’s sustainability initiatives.