One of the best things about the Maldives is the opportunity to get up close and personal with all sorts of sea creatures.
The Four Seasons, Kuda Huura Hotel, a joint participant of an initiative called Marine Savers, houses its very own Turtle Sanctuary, which offers guests of all ages a chance to help feed the turtles, as well as an enthralling glimpse into the job of a Marine Biologist.
The Turtle, is one of the National Emblems of the Maldives. These graceful creatures can live for up to 60 years.
Five types of Turtle can be found in the Indian Ocean:
- Green Turtle
- Hawksbill Turtle
- Olive Ridley Turtle
- Loggerhead Turtle
- Leatherback Turtle
Sadly, many of these turtles are on the endangered species list – the Hawksbill, hunted for the beautiful markings on its shell, is on the critically endangered list (last category before extinction).
Although fishing with nets is not permitted in the Maldives, sometimes discarded nets, known as “ghost nets” can drift on ocean currents from neighbouring countries. These ghost nets attract turtles, (and other marine creatures) who end up entangled in them.
Most of the turtles that are housed at the Kuda Huura Sanctuary have been found by locals or visitors, caught up in ghost nets, which do irrepairable damage to their flippers.
The rescue centre work hard to carefully remove the netting, often having to amputate one or more flippers. The turtles are weighed, fed and cared for on a daily basis until, hopefully, they are strong enough to be re-released back into the wild.