Historically, L. Gaadhoo set an example for managing and monitoring natural resources locally with the active involvement of the community. Through our Sea Turtle Beach Guardian Programme in Laamu Atoll, we are hopeful that community members will once again take an active role in sea turtle conservation in the atoll.
Heidi was one of our most widely loved sea turtle patients. He was admitted to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre in 2018 with severe ghost gear entanglement injuries and was deemed un-releasable due to one missing and one non-functional front flipper. He was transferred to Plymouth, UK, to live out his days in the National Marine Aquarium.
In October, Olive Ridley Project hosted Vaavoshi festival, Maldives’ first multi-atoll sea turtle festival, in collaboration with schools across eight different atolls. Complete with educational talks, song and dance, fun parades, mural making and beach cleanups – the festival truly captured the spirit of finding community in conservation.
A successful multi-stakeholder rescue mission saved five adult green sea turtles on the uninhabited island of Athahendha in Laamu Atoll on 17th April 2022. The turtles were found immobilised and unnaturally rolled over on their backs. They were concealed under some palm trees about three metres from the beach and had minor injuries. All five turtles successfully made it back to the sea.
When we talk about fishing we tend to think about fish in the ocean as ‘seafood’ rather than ‘wildlife’. This way of thinking creates a deeply rooted disconnect with nature. As a result, we look at the ocean as a resource rather than an important part of a healthy ecosystem. For fishing to ever be sustainable, we need to change this way of thinking and start to understand how the ocean is connected to our everyday lives.
Gaadhoo island in Laamu Atoll is the most significant nesting beach in the Maldives. In 1984, it was estimated that 5-10 nests were laid per night on Gaadhoo. Nesting has now declined by 40%. Gaadhoo’s nesting turtles are key in ensuring the survival of the population of green sea turtles in the Maldives. Gaadhoo is also a haven for many other species, such as migratory birds and juvenile fish.
It’s a lucky few that witness a sea turtle’s first foray into the world. Seeing sea turtles make their way into the ocean is an unforgettable and magical experience. However, sea turtle hatchlings have a famously tricky start to life. Here we shed some light on the difficulties new born turtles face, and the best practices to follow when witnessing a sea turtle hatching experience.
On a recent visit to Astola Island in Pakistan, ORP recorded more than 800 green turtle nests on the north beach of the island. Sadly, the beach and surrounding waters were also littered with ghost nets. These ghost nets pose great entanglement risk to nesting mother turtles and hatchlings scrambling to the the sea, something we saw firsthand. Astola Island is Pakistan’s first Marine Protected Area.