November 2014, this month we welcomed our festival director Chloe Osborne – along with Malé based artists Nadee and Kareen – to South Ari. In a very busy week they were able to carry out planning workshops on Dhangethi, Dhigurah, Dhidhoo, Mandhoo and Maamigili.
We’re delighted to report that all of the local islands are excited to be attending the festival and embraced the concept of representing their island by creating and parading their very own colours and mascot during the carnival style procession. These giant ‘marine life mascots’ will be judged by a special panel on the day, and the winner of this ‘best creation’ competition will host next year’s festival!
The Annual Whale Shark Festival is a collaborative community event facilitated by the The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) with the support of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Maldives. This event is an opportunity for the community of South Ari to come together and celebrate the significance of the whale shark to the South Ari area whilst also providing a positive platform from which to raise awareness of conservation issues.
The aim of this event is to create a truly unique and spectacular event that, in time, will achieve national status attracting more visitors to the Maldives and drawing attention to the importance of the whale sharks of South Ari Marine Protected Area.