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Senior Project Scientist from Olive Ridley Project Visits Kuredu

Senior Project Scientist from Olive Ridley Project Visits Kuredu

15 Oct 2022

Kuredu Resort Maldives was recently visited by Dr Stephanie Köhnk, Senior Project Scientist from Olive Ridley Project (ORP), the sea turtle conservation and research charity that has had its Lhaviyani base on Kuredu island in partnership with Prodivers Maldives, for the past 5 years. Steph’s role includes overseeing all scientific research projects, managing the ORP databases, working with resort marine biologists, raising awareness and consulting with the Maldivian government on issues of sea turtle conservation.

It was wonderful to welcome Steph back to the resort – back in 2017 she was the very first ORP biologist in the Maldives and based at Kuredu’s Marine Center, working closely with Prodivers to monitor our unique sea turtle population. During this visit, part of a trip conducting official site visits at ORP’s bases across the Maldives, she was able to see some familiar turtle faces that she knew during her time here and was able to catch up with Emily, the current Sea Turtle Biologist at Kuredu.

Her visit to us began with a tour of Kuredu’s nesting beaches and current nests followed the next day by with lots of great guest interaction on a ‘turtley 2-tank’ dive to Kuredu Express and Zafari to conduct surveys using photo identification for our sea turtle behaviour and population studies. Day three was action-packed and included the Kuredu Turtle Search – an educational guest excursion which includes an information session about sea turtles’ biology, life cycle, threats, why they are endangered, ORP’s conservation work, and how guests can help, as well as the code of conduct for swimming with sea turtles, followed by a one hour snorkel survey in Kuredu’s lagoon and house reef to photograph and identify the turtles and collect behaviour data. In the evening, Steph gave a wonderful presentation to a large crowd of guests at Babuna bar entitled: “Unique in the Maldives: the green sea turtle population of Lhaviyani atoll”. She introduced ORP’s vision and work, talked about our data collection using photo ID and what we know of the green sea turtles here in Lhaviyani, as well as some findings from our behaviour study, and the code of conduct for swimming with sea turtles. Steph’s final day included a snorkel boat to Komandoo’s reef for another photo ID and behaviour data collection survey.

If you would like to help with turtle conservation it’s possible to adopt a turtle with the Olive Ridley Project – a great gift idea for anyone who loves the ocean. To get further insight into the behaviour of turtles and to learn how to take identification photos of turtles, join the marine biologist on a trip to Caves – a favourite spot for Green Sea Turtles.