In honor of World Turtle Day, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, has launched new conservation program development efforts in partnership with The Olive Ridley Project (ORP). Through rescue, rehabilitation, informational outreach, and scientific investigation, this partnership strives to help the defense of threatened sea turtles and their habitats.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands has pledged to protect sea turtles as part of its cutting-edge environmental fieldwork ever since it opened in 2021. This initiative, led by resort naturalists and a forward-thinking research community, features a special collaboration with Melissa Schiele, a British PhD researcher and sustainability manager.
A total of four sea turtles have been freed from ghost nets by resort teams so far through monitoring the ocean habitat with marine naturalists, the first Ambassadors of the Environment program with Jean Michel Cousteau in the Maldives, and its own drone conservation study. The resort's image collection and data processing project monitoring ocean plastics—the first resort-based conservation technology project employing drones in the Maldives—made it possible for a number of these rescues.
The development of a temporary sea turtle holding facility will allow resort staff to transport sick and injured sea turtles to safety as part of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands' new partnership with ORP. The temporary facility will offer the essential care for turtles in need of medical attention before transporting them to the Marine Turtle Rescue Centre on Baa Atoll, where they will be treated by the ORP's veterinary staff.
The Olive Ridley Project was established in 2013 with the goal of protecting sea turtles and their natural habitats through scientific study, education, and outreach programs, as well as rescue and rehabilitation. In the Maldives, the ORP crew reported rescuing approximately 1100 sick and injured sea turtles, over 85% of which were Olive Ridleys. Ghost net entanglement has been responsible for the majority of these injuries.
In the expectation that this knowledge might be utilized jointly to inform and bring about good change, the resort's own data research initiative aims to increase our understanding of the distribution and transportation of plastics, including ghost nets, across the country. Drones from the resort instantly target and remove any nets or significant pieces of trash they find.
The resort community will be educated and trained in the careful treatment and rehabilitation of sea turtles under ORP's code of conduct and veterinary guidance thanks to the relationship with ORP. Working with ORPs scientists and lead veterinarians will ensure shared education and knowledge from rescue through rehabilitation. Committed to environmental education, the resort's ecosystem, including the employees, visitors, and local communities, will spread this knowledge.