Marine Biologist 2021 Turtle News Summary
2021 was a very busy year at Kuredu Resort Maldives’ Marine Centre; Marine Biologist, Emily, has carried out lots of important sea turtle research and conservation work with Olive Ridley Project (ORP) in collaboration with Kuredu Resort Maldives and Prodivers.
Our guests, resort team, dive instructors, snorkel guides and marine biologists documented and amazing 1474 sea turtle sightings in Lhaviyani Atoll during 2021. 12 ghost nets (discarded fishing gear) were retrieved from the ocean, documented and disposed of thus preventing them from causing harm to marine life. 10 sea turtles were rescued across Lhaviyani atoll, with the help of ORP’s rescue center vet, Atoll Marine Center on Naifaru and other resorts, water sports and dive centers.
Emily conducted a training workshop for 52 members of our resort team highlighting the importance of sea turtles to tourism, the threats to them, and the code of conduct for behaving around nesting females and hatchling turtles. She also undertook 232.8 hours of in water surveys to document and monitor the wild sea turtle population of Lhaviyani Atoll.
The reefs around Kuredu are well-known for being turtle hotspots with a large community of Green Sea Turtles resident and 2021 has been a bumper year nesting. There were 16 successfully laid green sea turtle nests, the most documented in one year since our records began in 2017! 18 nests hatched – again, the most documented in one year since our records began in 2017! (2 nests that were laid in late 2020 hatched in 2021). The result was that 1345 baby turtles hatched on Kuredu in 2021, which sounds impressive, but remember, only 1 out of 1000 baby turtles survives to adulthood which is why our conservation and education strategies are so important.
In 2021 there was a lot of focus on this boom nesting season with regular nesting surveys, protection of nesting females from accidental disturbance by people, monitoring of the nests and protecting them from beach erosion and saltwater inundation, and watching due nests for signs of hatching.
“Our ability to monitor, protect and witness the hatching of turtle nests was greatly aided this year by the generous donation of a solar powered night vision outdoor camera, that I was able to monitor remotely. I created a NestWatch group, consisting of guests that had come to the Marine Center to enquire, for each due nest; they received a briefing on how to check the nest, and the code of conduct for how to behave around hatchling turtles. These guests then volunteered their time by checking on the nest once daily, and providing me with much needed support at the time of hatching, by ensuring the turtles were not disturbed by the presence of people, lights and noise at the time of hatching. This new initiative worked really well, with many successfully hatching nests witnessed by guests, many of whom gave positive feedback and/or kindly donated money to the Olive Ridley Project or adopted a sea turtle by way of supporting our charity. It’s been a busy year!” – Emily Mundy
When you visit Kuredu, book a Turtle Search adventure with our Marine Biologist and contribute to our data!