The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) in association with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will launch the first Maldivian Whale Shark Festival in South Ari atoll on 29th June 2013. This one-day festival has been created to highlight the potential cooperative initiatives between resorts and local island communities while providing a positive platform from which to raise awareness of this magnificent species.
The festival will keep a strong Marine Discovery element designed to give adults and children a hands-on experience through which they will discover the wonders of the Maldivian environment and culture. Activities include whale shark excursions, an ecological treasure hunt, cultural demonstrations, guest presentations about whale sharks and coral reef ecology, participatory performance art coordinated by London based arts company Emergency Exit Arts and of course traditional bodu beru music and Maldivian food.
Guests from surrounding resorts and local islands are invited to join the day of whale shark related festivities on Dhigurah Island in South Ari atoll.
It’s hoped that this will become an annual event, celebrating the occurrence of whale sharks in the Maldives and the South Ari Marine Protected Area and to provide an opportunity for visitors to explore the cultural and ecological wonders of the Maldives.
Sponsored by Conrad Maldives since 2007, the MWSRP are a leading authority on whale sharks in the Maldives. MWSRP have been building up a demographic profile of the whale shark population in the Maldives and over the past six years have documented over 1000 encounters. The pioneering research of the MWSRP into the demography and movements of the whale shark population in the Maldives provides the scientific basis behind the programme’s conservation goals.