In celebration of this year’s World Turtle Day, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands has pursued a new collaboration with the Olive Ridley Project (ORP) to establish turtle conservation infrastructure on the property. This will further support the protection of vulnerable sea turtles and their habitats in the Maldives through rescue, rehabilitation, education and research.
Since its inception in 2021, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island have been committed to the conservation of sea turtles as part of its advanced environmental framework. This venture is led by resort naturalists and a passionate research community including a unique partnership with British PhD researcher and Sustainability Manager, Melissa Schiele.
Through its various endeavours - such as the Maldives’ first Ambassador of the Environment program with Jean Michel Cousteau, drone conservation research and through monitoring the ocean habitat with marine naturalists – the resort team has now rescued a total of four sea turtles entangled in ghost nets. These rescues were made possible with the resort’s image collection and data processing project which monitors ocean plastics, the first resort-based conservation technology project in the Maldives conducted using drones.
Under its new collaboration with the ORP, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands will establish a temporary sea turtle holding facility which will enable resort teams to bring sick and injured sea turtles to safety. Additionally, this will allow turtles that require medical treatment to receive the necessary care before they are transported to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre in Baa, where they will be further treated by ORP’s veterinary team.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives’ own data research project aims to increase the understanding of the location and track the movement of plastics nationwide, ultimately using the information to collaboratively inform and create positive change. Even now, any nets or large debris identified by resort drones are immediately targeted for removal by the property.
The partnership with ORP will also facilitate the education and training of the resort teams to sensitively handle and rehabilitate sea turtles as per the ORP’s code of conduct and veterinary direction. The collaborative approach will ensure shared education and knowledge working with ORP’s scientists and leading veterinarians starting from rescue to rehabilitation. Adhering to its commitment to environmental education, the knowledge will also be disseminated through resort staff, guests, and local communities.
Founded in 2013, the Olive Ridley Project is on a mission to protect sea turtles and their habitats through rescue and rehabilitation, education and outreach and scientific research. As part of their rescue efforts, the ORP team have reported over 1100 injured and sick sea turtles in the Maldives, where most of these injuries were caused by ghost net entanglement.