The role of Kuredu’s Marine Center16 Dec 2017
The recent opening of the Marine Center on Kuredu is great news for visiting guests who are inquisitive about life in the ocean surrounding this beautiful island. Staffed by Sea Turtle Biologist and Educator, Stephanie, from the Olive Ridley Project, it’s great news for turtles too.
Stephanie’s work at the Marine Center comprises of two main parts:
- Monitoring the population of sea turtles
Through identification of the sea turtles Stephanie can monitor their population in the Lhaviyani Atoll and she manages the atoll database for gathering the information. The data collected is then fed into a National Database of the Maldives where several Marine Biologists use the information to help build a picture about the Maldives Sea Turtle population as a whole.
Stephanie uses photos of the right and left sides of the sea turtles’ face to identify them – the number and shape of the scale arrangement in this area is unique – it’s painstaking work but it allows Stephanie to see if this is a previously sighted turtle or one that is new to the area.
Guests can get actively involved in Stephanie’s work by sending good photos with clear side views of the Sea Turtle’s face, to Stephanie using the button below. Stephanie will let guests know if the turtle is already known to the database, or if it is new to science! If it is new, the guest has the opportunity to adopt and name the turtle.
- Monitoring the occurence of ghost nets
Ghost nets are discarded or lost nets that float in the ocean, trapping marine life on their deadly and aimless drift. Often called the ‘silent killers’ of the oceans they pose a major threat to animals – entangling and killing them; guests visiting the Marine Center can view pictures of ghost nets. Whenever they are found, Stephanie records where they were found, what they look like and what kind of animals became entangled. The information gathered can help to figure out where the net came from and the Olive Ridley Project tries to take action to reduce the number by removal, reuse, education and community outreach programs.
When entangled sea turtles are found, still alive, if they are healthy they are released, or taken to either the Turtle Sanctuary in Naifaru or Baa Atoll for medical treatment and rehabilitation as required.
It’s clear to see that the new Marine Center and the work undertaken there is a great asset to Kuredu and to life on the reefs of the Lhaviyani Atoll. To find out more about Stephanie’s work please send her an email or, for guests currenly on Kuredu – pay her a visit at the Marine Center, a very warm welcome awaits.