Manta Trust to educate on Manta Ray in Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

With the intention to raise awareness about Manta Ray Research in the Maldives, Coco Collection will be welcoming Manta Trust to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu to interact with guests and associates.

The Maldivian Manta Ray Project was established in 2005 by British Marine Biologist and the Manta Trust founder Guy Stevens. Guy started working in the Maldives in 2003 and spent his first 18 months in the country on a dive liveaboard. During this time Guy was seeing Mantas all around the country and his curiosity about these amazing creatures grew.

Desperate to know more about why and where these sea creatures were found Guy looked to other marine biologists in the Maldives and around the world and found a shocking scarcity of information and research being done on these creatures. In 2005 the MMRP was founded and became one of very first Manta research projects around the world and the project of the Manta Trust.

The aims of the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) when it was created were to characterise the population of Manta Rays in the Maldives. Not much data is available on the Maldives manta population and little research have been carried out on the life cycle and population dynamics. To achieve the objectives the project has worked closely with the Government of Maldives, tourists, local groups, volunteers, students and tour operators to create greater awareness and protection for the peaceful rays and their habitat.

coco-collection-Manta-TrustThe resort’s programme:

On 21 June 2014, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu will give a warm welcome to Marine Biologists from Manta Trust that includes Niv Froman, the Project Manager of Manta Trust Maldives, as well as Annie Murray, the Operations Manager of Manta Trust Maldives who will be spending 2 days at the resort, engaging guests in interactive presentations and inviting them to join a spectacular snorkeling excursion in South Baa Atoll, where they hope to encounter some Manta Rays gliding through the deep blue.

The team will start the program with an interactive presentation for the associates of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, to which the resort has invited students of schools from surrounding local islands.

In the evening, the visiting scientists along with Chiara Fumagalli, the resort’s own resident Marine Biologist, will hold an educational presentation for the resort’s guests at Conch Bar focusing on Manta Trust’s work alongside Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu.

It is said that both presentations will focus mainly on the work that Manta Trust has been contributing to the Maldivian Manta Ray Project and offer guests and students also a chance to enrich their knowledge regarding these creatures.

On the morning of 22 June 2014, Coco Collection’s Resident Marine Biologist, Chiara Fumagalli, along with the group from Manta Trust will lead guests and associates on an adventurous snorkeling excursion that will hopefully include the extraordinary opportunity to swim with these mysterious creatures. Afterwards, Chiara will blend with guests at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu to share photos of the expedition.

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is offering a “Stay Longer and Pay Less” deal for guest who wants to experience the Manta Ray expedition where a 5 night’s stay will receive a discount of 25% while a 3 night’s stay will receive a discount of 10% from room rates. Also, guests can book their stay with Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu now to enjoy discounts of up to 7% from room rates.

Chiara Fumagalli, the Resident Marine Biologist at Coco Collection commented “This exciting expedition with the fellow Marine Biologists from Manta Trust is truly an amazing opportunity to experience these marvelous creatures gliding through the ocean. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome guests of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu to join us in this snorkeling excursion for a once in a lifetime chance to swim alongside Manta Rays while witnessing their natural behavior in person”.

Findings shows that the Maldives hosts the largest population of reef Manta Rays (Manta alfredi) in the world, however there is no local law that prohibits fishing or harming these increasingly defenseless creatures. In many countries direct fishing of manta rays and their similar species, driven by the huge grown demand of gill plates in Eastern Asia, decimates regional populations. Increased pressures from tourism is also known to have damaging impacts on these species which national legislation can help to control.

Research shows that Manta rays give birth to only one live born pup on average just once every 3-5 years and have one of the longest gestation periods of any creature. Their highly conservative reproductive strategy, combined with a slow growth rate and late maturity makes Manta Rays immensely susceptible to exploitation. Based on these reasons many countries are acting quickly to protect their regional population of Mantas. Like the Maldives, Indonesia, is known to have one of the world’s leading Manta tourism destinations, recently established the largest Manta Ray sanctuary in the world.

Manta rays are an important resource in the Maldives to promote Manta ecotourism. The Maldives has already showed its commitment to marine conservation by protecting all species of sharks and establishing several Marine Protected Areas throughout the archipelago.

The contribution and support of Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi has been recently recognized by Manta Trust by ranking Coco Collection as the top submitter of newly identified Manta Ray sightings and the second top submitter of overall Manta Ray sightings for the year 2013. It is known that Coco Collection is thrilled to be a part of such initiatives and during the event hopes to educate guests and associates regarding the population and behavior of Maldivian Manta Rays, also aiding the research objectives of Manta Trust.

A winner of World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013 and a nominee of World Luxury Spa Awards 2014, Coco Collection is a eminent hotel group, also a subsidiary of Sunland Hotels. Since opening the hotel in July 2007, the company continued to grow and developed its reputation as a stylish, sophisticated with sustainable hospitality.

Coco Collection’s comes with three unique brands, Coco Resorts – Retreats, Coco Privé and Coco Palm.

The Retreats includes the luxury resort Coco Bodu Hithi; Coco Palm features the environmentally conscious getaway Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu; and Coco Privé consists: the private and exclusive Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island.

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