Local Turtle Expert From Olive Ridley Project Visits Amilla Fushi and Finolhu
Amilla Fushi and Finolhu welcomed Mr. Ibrahim Shameel from the Olive Ridley Project to coordinate excursions and activities to bring about awareness regarding sea turtles.
The Small Maldives Island Co. that manages Amilla Fushi and Finolhu announced that Mr. Shameel visited both resorts during 7th - 17th April. During this time, he conducted guests excursions with brief introductions to turtle biology, ecology, and the threats and conservation of turtle life, focusing on the Olive Ridley Project. Shameel also facilitated awareness sessions for staff to help engage islanders in turtle protection; turtle rescue and first aid for the transport team; nest and egg protection for the gardening and security teams.
An arts and crafts session was held for children, focusing on the theme of threats to sea turtles to provide a fun educational and awareness experience. As part of their commitment to local communities, Shameel also visited neighboring islands Dhonfanu and Goidhoo, to provide informative sessions for local students.
The two resorts combined raised over $1,000 for the Olive Ridley Project, as part of their yearly donation scheme. At Amilla Fushi, the volunteers identified over 46 hawk-bill turtles and one green turtle, including a turtle with a missing flipper and one with a deformed shell, equaling a total number of 71 sightings. Finolhu identified four hawk-bill sea turtles and eleven green sea turtles, which totals 32 turtle encounters including one hawk-bill with a missing flipper.
The announcement read, "Some would say this is turtle-tastic! Luckily during this, we rescued an Olive Ridley juvenile turtle from a ghost net with the help of Milaidhoo Island Resort. The turtle had injuries to its flipper and was safely transported to the turtle hospital to see the registered vet at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu."
Coincidentally, a green turtle nest also hatched during Shameel's time at Finolhu. A first time experience for the guests and Shameel himself, the beach was enveloped by 111 baby green turtles racing their way to the ocean. Regarding the endangered species, the announcement mentioned that by locating ghost nets and rescuing Olive Ridleys, securing these baby green turtles might be the only way to save the species from extinction.
The Olive Ridley Project was initially founded in 2013, following a large number of Olive Ridley sea turtles found entangled in ghost nets near Maldives. The fishing in Maldives is mainly done with line and pole, which led them to believe the nets were drifting here with the currents. The project was started in hopes of locating these ghost nets and identifying where they originally came form, and rescuing these sea turtles to assure that they are well protected and looked after.
"The Olive Ridley Project aims to protect and preserve the Indian Ocean from ghost nets by actively removing discarded fishing nets, rescuing and nursing entangled turtles back to health; educating local and scientific communities about the issues; identifying the origins of the ghost nets and target these locations to change fishing techniques; and promoting end of life recycling of fishing nets."