How Outrigger Maldives playing important role in Manta Ray, Whale Shark and Turtle conservation

Scuba Diving in the Maldives


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26 July, 2022

Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort is playing a key role in gathering and sharing information on manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles with conservation groups in the Maldives.

The tracking and reporting process, led by the resort’s marine biologist, Lynn Jula Kessler, shows that populations of whale sharks and manta rays in the South Ari Atoll around Outrigger Maldives are stable or doing well. However, there is more concern about critically endangered sea turtles, which often get ensnared in fishing nets travelling between their nesting grounds in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

On whale sharks, Outrigger Maldives is cooperating with the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme. Kessler and accompanying resort snorkelling guests collect data on whale shark sightings, noting any injuries, some of which are caused by collisions with boats.

This September, Kessler and Outrigger will join the #GentleToGiants initiative being run by the whale shark research team. The campaign aims to secure commitments from tourism businesses to adhere to whale shark encounter guidelines.

“Many of the whale sharks spotted in South Ari Atoll are juvenile males five to eight metres in length,” says Kessler. “The waters around here are like a boys’ high school for whale sharks,” she says.

Kessler also sends information on manta ray sightings to the Manta Trust, an NGO founded to protect manta rays globally. By sending underwater images of mantas to the trust, conservationists can track new pregnancies, injuries and overall population trends. Manta rays are classified as endangered. They are protected by law in the Maldives, which has the biggest recorded population of manta rays in the world.

"No matter how often I encounter manta rays, they always amaze me,” says Kessler. “Besides being unbelievably graceful, they are also very curious and intelligent. They can often be observed interacting with snorkellers and divers which makes the encounters even more magical."

Kessler gives presentations twice a week to Outrigger guests on manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, marine life and coral reef preservation in the South Ari Atoll.

In July, she conducted coral planting, assisted by guests, adding frames of new coral beneath a jetty at the resort to encourage the breeding of young corals and fish species.

Marine conservation and awareness building are a key part of Outrigger Maldives resort operations, all of which align with Outrigger’s ZONE (OZONE), the company’s long established global marine conservation and environmental care initiative.

Outrigger would like to hear from journalists who are interested in the OZONE project, marine conservation and sustainable guest activities.

Known for its uninterrupted views of white sandy beaches and a seemingly endless turquoise lagoon, Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort recently underwent an extensive modernisation. It is now poised to be among the Maldives’ most sought-after vacation experiences.

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Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort

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Best Experience for:   Honeymoon, Swimming with Whale Sharks, Diving

A very special place, Maafushivaru is a unique island getaway that epitomizes all that one dreams of when thinking of the Maldives. Located in South Ari Atoll, the boutique resort is one of the best all inclusive destinations in the Maldives. This is not a fully all-inclusive resort, and a truly all-inclusive package is fairly standard, but a vote gives you an idea of ​​how good this hotel has become in recent years. All thatch-roofed 81 villas inspired by local architecture are either set amidst verdant gardens or poised over the turquoise lagoon and have an exquisite design. Combining a Maldivian paradise with contemporary indulgences, a rays, reef sharks, fish, and curious herons are the common attractions in the lagoon area, and the island’s location in the southern tip of the picturesque atoll of Ari is ideal for spotting whale sharks and mantas year round. Located in the same lagoon as Maafushivaru, just minutes away, is Lonubo, a stunning deserted islet, exclusively for the use of Maafushivaru guests.

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