The state of Kuredu’s turtles: An update for Maldives scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts04 Dec 2014
Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Dr Jillian Hudgins from the Olive Ridley Project, who gave the interested scuba divers and snorkellers an update on the turtle situation in the Maldives.
During her 3-day visit, Jillian presented the conservation efforts by the Marine Research Center in Male, which is trying to ensure that the ban on turtle hunting/foraging that is coming to an end next year is extended and strengthened. The center is trying to identify turtle hotspots in the country, and through photo ID research, it’s been uncovered that the waters around Kuredu Resort & Spa are a real treasure.
The Maldives has a general ratio of 10:1 Hawksbills to Greens. Lhaviyani and Kuredu in particular reverses this relationship, with 10:1 Green to Hawkbills. The turtles at Kuredu Caves and on the house reef are there predominantly due to the abundant source of food – seagrass. Most of the turtles are in fact juveniles, and are using the island as a growing area – comfortable from the protection offered on the house reef, Caves and Kuredu Express.
We have identified over 60 turtles in the Lhaviyani Atoll, with over 40 being resident around the island.
The population that we have known for 25 years, and which Kuredu has helped nurture during this time through strict encouragement of guests not to touch / interfere with them, is unique and which through careful understanding of the ecosystem that supports them will help ensure that they remain here for years to come.
Moreover, Jillian informed us about the horrendous situation of ghost nets (nets that have been discarded, abandoned or lost in the ocean) throughout the Indian Ocean, including the Maldives, trapping and ensnaring poor turtles. Mostly it’s the Olive Ridleys that get caught as they are deeper, ocean dwelling turtles. From time to time we witness these monstrosities, and it was incredibly useful to find out more about minimizing the stress to the turtle (such as best ways to release them) if we come across any more. We were also asked to record some basic information about the nets to help try and identify where they came from.
Jillian also presented at our Ocean Discovery Evening to approximately 200 interested Kuredu guests. On Wednesday, she led a special ‘Turtle Tour’ where 4 new turtles were identified.