Turtle Head Start Program
At the moment we have 19 turtles in our Head Start facility here at Kuda Huraa. Nine new turtles that were born at the beginning of the month on Reethi Rah were brought here by the resident marine biologist to take part in our programme.
The baby turtles stayed in our nursery pools for the first two weeks and then moved to the front pools where we have sea grass growing for shelter and food. Like the other turtles they will stay here for approximately a year and then be released back into the wild.
Other than that we have five turtles that have almost reached their target size and will be released next month.
Turtle Nest on Kashidhoo
On 12 August, two of our marine biologists went on a trip to the nearby agricultural islands of Kashidhoo, Maarikilu and Anhenufushi. This was to establish first contact with the people working on those islands, and to increase awareness about our turtle nest conservation program.
The idea was initiated after we were contacted by Mr Himay, who works on a coconut project in Kashidhoo, and had found a turtle nest on the island. He had attempted in vain to contact the Environment Ministry for advice, and then found our contact details here at MarineSavers.com.
We plan to return to Kashidhoo next month to check the development of the eggs, and we will also try to arrange a school trip (from Kendhoo) as this represents an excellent learning and awareness opportunity for the local children.
Turtle Rearing Centre in Kendhoo
At the end of the month, our work colleague Munaadh (from Kuda Huraa launch section) contacted us to support a new turtle rearing project on his home island of Kendhoo (Baa Atoll). We were very pleased to hear of his initiatives and are very happy to support his future plans. We aim to train four of Munaadh’s colleagues in turtle rearing techniques through a week’s residential programme at Kuda Huraa followed by a trip to Landaa Giraavaru to learn all about our projects.
In return, the Kendhoo project will provide us with some excellent data on their nest monitoring and hatchling rearing programmes, including:
- Numbers of hatchlings (new arrivals, releases, mortalities)
- Monthly growth statistics (length and weight)
- Feeding (types and quantity of food being given)
- Health of the hatchlings (including photos of any sick turtles)
- Treatments given (and medications used)
- Location of all nests being monitored (name of the island, with exact GPS coordinates of the beach location)
- Dates of nesting and hatching
- Numbers of hatchlings per nest
Maldives Turtle ID Program
The Maldives turtle ID programme is currently surveying 96 sites for Hawksbill and Green turtles. Three atolls (Baa, North Male and Ari) are very active, with a few further sightings coming from Lhaviyani and South Male atolls. Between participants, we identified a total of 134 turtles this month!
We are looking for more contacts in other atolls that would be willing to participate in our project and help fill the gaps in our data. If you know of any other interested marine biologists, please pass on the information and get in touch !