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On the 23rd of January we received Tara, a juvenile Olive Ridley turtle covered in oil. Oil can affect turtlesโ€™ eyes, damage airways and lungs, contaminate their food supply or even be absorbed through their skin leading to damage to the digestive tract and other organs. Negative effects of an oil spill may diminish over several years or may last up to decades. Tara is being treated and cleaned at Kuda Huraa, with the help of some mayonnaise and care of our marine biologists! ๐Ÿ’™ ๐Ÿข . . .

The Maldives Sea Turtle Identification Project has been receiving data through citizen science for the past 10 years. During the period of 2010-2019, 1206 individual Hawksbill turtles with 4323 re-sightings and 213 Green turtles with 421 re-sightings were sighted across various reefs within the Maldives. These maps depict the abundance of individuals sighted and their location (re-sightings not included). These numbers are representative only of the turtles that have been sighted, the actual estimates of the individuals that reside these reefs are thought to be higher. Sea turtles have unique facial scute (scale) patterns which can be used to identify them. In this new year, help us to extend our database and further understand our turtle populations by sending us pictures of your Maldivian turtle encounters! Visit our page โ€˜Maldives Turtle IDโ€™ to learn more! . . .

An example of commensalism between our local heron and the baby blacktip sharks, right on our doorstep! When the juvenile sharks hunt for baitfish close to the shore, they frequently force them jump out of the water and onto the sand. The heron, waiting there, just needs to bend its neck to pick them up! ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿฆˆ๐Ÿ ๐ŸŒŠ . .

Fortunately, there is a happy ending for most of the turtles we rescue. Here is the case with Iman and Samu, both victims of ghost net entanglement. Samu was rescued on December 17th and Iman on November 25th. As shown in the picture, the rope of the net had caused severe lacerations on Iman face (top picture), the bottom picture shows her healed wounds after more than a month care in our center. Samu suffered from superficial abrasions, they both spent a couple of weeks recovering and were successfully released on January 6th. Good luck to them for this new year 2020!!! . . . .

During cruises on the Four Seasons Explorer live-aboard, our marine biologists on board teach guests all about the biology and ecology of whale sharks, and the proper code of conduct for swimming with them. They then search for whale sharks along the outer edge of South Ari atoll, where the sharks are most frequently sighted. . Guests on board were lucky enough to spend 1 hour with this individual in the water, due to responsible in-water practices. . Whale sharks can be identified by the unique spot pattern on the side of their body...ID shots were sent to .w.s.r.p, a dedicated research-based conservation charity, who identified this individual as WS382 or Mendhan (meaning midnight in Dhivehi) from their database. This organisation is doing amazing work in the area to provide a better understanding of the population dynamics and habitat use of the sharks they see there, educate local communities about the importance and needed protection of these endangered creatures, and to assist

Ghost nets arenโ€™t supernatural but they are still scary! This lost or abandoned fishing gear continues to trap anything in their path including turtles, dolphins, sea birds, sharks and much more. Ghost nets damage coral reefs too - breaking and smothering corals and even blocking them from life giving sunlight. Most modern nets are made of nylon or other plastic compounds which can last for centuries. A Scientific Reports study in 2018 found that up to 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was made up of ghost nets! The majority of our admissions to our Turtle Rehabilitation Centre are victims of ghost nets. On the 10th January we successfully removed this net from outside our facility (pictures 2 & 3), along with 2 turtles. This net appeared to have been purposely attached to a large floating log (picture 4). Given our remote location it is highly likely that this net had travelled a great distance. Arielle (pictures 1,5 & 6) was extremely dehydrated and weighed 2kg when she

Our first release of 2020!! Wish good luck to Pinto, Maria and Fussy. They were left behind by their stronger siblings and unable to make it out of the nest by themselves. Now, after overcoming recurrent infections and health problems they are ready to be released!! . . .

Meet Yaniu! Yaniu is our Marine Biology apprentice for 2019/2020. Hailing from Kanditheemu (Shaviyani Atoll) he has always had a keen interest in the marine world and specifically coral biology, even establishing coral frames on his home island. Yaniu will be focusing primarily on our pioneering coral breeding program! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿค“

A festive tale! ๐ŸขNadia, a juvenile Olive Ridley, was found entangled in a ghost fishing net alongside another turtle on the house reef of Landaa Giraavaru by Four Seasons boat crew in November. Our team of Marine biologists rescued and gave them a lot of cares. After a month spent at our rehabilitation center, Nadia's wounds have since healed and she was finally ready to head back into the wild. Good luck Nadia! ๐Ÿ“ธ Guia and Ticoโ™ก A special dedication to Iman and Nadia, two sisters who have given the name to those turtles, the day they were found entangled.

Playing hide and seek with two scorpion fish during coral frames monitoring! Scorpion fish are reef-associated predatory fish. More than 200 species are actually identified and can be found mainly in the Pacific and Indian oceans. ๐ŸŒŠ As you can see they present a quite astonishing camouflage, enabling them to hide very efficiently in the coral reefs or rocky crevices, unnoticed by their preys until it is too late... So make sure to be on the lookout next time you go snorkelling in the big blue, because this rock might be more than it seems.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Primitive but sophisticated - meet Chrysaora quinquecirrha! This majestic species of Scyphozoa can be found in the open seas, down to depths of 85m! As an active predator, it's long tentacles work independently from each other to enrapture planktonic prey as it bells through the water column. ...Did you know jellyfish pre-date the dinosaurs!? . .

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