Joseph Lassus is said to have been involved involved with a WWF project at the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, in Mexico before coming to Maldives.
“This opportunity to be the Marine Biologist at Anantara Kihavah Villas provides me with a perfect combination of teaching to dive and snorkel, which I love to share with guests, as well as continuing my research in exciting new fields of exploration and behavior associations of aquatic life. Here, I encounter completely different species to those I am familiar with from my native home in the French Caribbean, such as the Napoleon Wrasse, Clown Fish, and different coral. They all exist in a fragile community – one cannot survive without the other.”
Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands, approximately 200 of which are inhabited. Spread out over 26 natural atolls, each island is no more than 2m (7ft) above sea level. Baa Atoll, home to Anantara Kihavah Villas, is situated on the west of the Maldives’ atoll chain and comprises 75 islands. Located only 35 minutes by seaplane from Malé International Airport.
The coral reefs of the Maldives were first badly damaged in 1998, when shifting ocean patterns associated with El Niño raised sea level temps above 90 degrees. The result then was that 70 to 90 percent of the reefs surrounding the Maldives 26 atolls were badly “bleached,” the warm temperatures killing off the symbiotic algae that lives within the coral and gives it color. While since then many of the reefs have been recovering, according to a report by the Maldives-based Marine Research Center, another warming last year (2010) estimated that “10-15 percent of shallow reef coral is now completely white, while 50-70 percent has begun to pale.”
463 square miles of aquamarine Indian Ocean was recently named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Ever since Anantara Kihavah Villas’ opening in 2012, they have been dedicated to supporting the recovery, operating as an eco-conscious resort.
The arrival of marine biologist Joseph Lassus to Anantara Kihavah, means that guests can draw on his expert knowledge as they go into the depths of the ocean and discover the underwater world that lies underneath. Hosting presentations for guests in the mesmerizing surrounds of ‘Sea’ – the resort’s signature underwater restaurant, Joseph describes the natural aquarium through the glass walls as it envelopes the restaurant to provide a breathtaking 180 degree view of fish, turtles, sea eels with all their friends at play.
Guests can join Joseph on diving, snorkeling, dolphin discovery, turtle quest and manta excursions, or participate in coral transplanting and essential research snorkeling adventures, taking identification images of larger animals.
Coral reefs support a vast array of marine life and contribute to the livelihood of millions of people worldwide. As a nursery, home and supermarket for fish of all shapes and sizes, reefs are an important resource to protect for the future health of the ocean. These living barriers also act as a natural defence against beach erosion and wave destruction. Without reefs, island archipelagos like the Baa Atoll would eventually disappear.
Anantara is hugely committed to conserving the environment and is a Green Globe certified member. Green Globe is the global certification for sustainable tourism. It is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
The Green Globe Certification Standard consists of 41 criteria and 337 indicators. The main areas are:
Sustainable Management (Implement a Sustainability Management System, Legal Compliance, Employee Training, Customer Satisfaction, Accuracy of Promotional Materials, Local Zoning, Interpretation, Communications Strategy, Health & Safety)
Social / Economic (Community Development, Local Employment, Fair Trade, Support Local Entrepreneurs, Respect Local Communities, Exploitation, Equitable Hiring, Employee Protection, Basic Services)
Cultural Heritage (Code of Behaviour, Historical Artifacts, Protection of Sites, Incorporation of Culture)
Environmental (Conserving Resources, Reducing Pollution, Conserving Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Landscapes)
To date (Q4 2013), 16 resorts have been awarded Green Globe Certification:
Anantara Kihavah Villas
Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa
Anantara Veli Resort & Spa
Other countries include Thailand, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates.
Anantara is currently undergoing a huge expansion programme that will take the number of its properties up to around 50 by 2015. The range of Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas locations are in Thailand, Bali, UAE, Indian Ocean and China – means many different cultures, wildlife and environments. One thing that all of these places has in common, is the need to ensure that tourism is operated in a way that is sustainable for the people that live there and for future generations of residents and travellers.
Some of the projects to help the communities Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas belongs in:
– Anantara’s 365 Days of Good Deeds
– Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
– The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
– Roy E. Heinecke Foundation
The Coral Adoption Programme
In its commitment to protect the environment, Anantara Kihavah Villas has initiated the Coral Adoption Programme, a long-term plan designed to share learning experiences with guests, accelerate the regeneration of coral growth in the atoll reef, and ultimately ensure the future of this unique Maldivian destination.
To experience the rich biodiversity of these undersea habitats with a visit to Anantara Kihavah Villas.