Coco Collection reflects on its conservation initiatives, on the occasion of World Oceans Day

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Olive Ridley Project 1To mark World Oceans Day, Coco Collection has looked back over its conservation initiatives as it continues to build on its commitment to the country’s marine environment by partnering with the Olive Ridley Project.

World Oceans Day is a United Nations recognized day of celebration and action for the ocean, held every June 8th. The global movement of this year’s World Oceans Day focusses around the theme Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet, raising awareness and highlighting the human responsibility to keep the oceans clean. With plastic trash choking the oceans, it is shocking that 80% of this debris comes from land. Apart from plastic, one of the fundamental threats that the Indian Ocean is facing is ghost nets that entangle and threaten marine life, of which sea turtles are the most common.

At Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi, dedicated teams work together to observe the ocean for such debris while out on snorkelling trips and other excursions. In 2014, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu was at the top on the list of data submitters to the Olive Ridley Project, a charity which highlights the danger of these stray nets, with a total of 10 ghost nets removed and 7 turtles rescued. Coco Bodu Hithi brought in the second top submitter with the removal of 4 ghost nets.

This year, on 15th of May, the team at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu encountered a ghost net that illustrated the dire situation very clearly. The Dive Ocean team spent a solid hour loading the massive net onto the boat and the resort team gathered at the beach to sort through the net. With a total of 12 nets stuck together, the team discovered the usual debris of plastic bottles, bags and even buoys trapped inside the net. The most harrowing discovery was a lone turtle bone among the debris, indicating that the entangled turtle had died trapped inside the net. The very next day, guests discovered a young olive ridley turtle that was entangled inside a bag, where it had lost a front flipper and damaged the back flippers.

In January 2015, the hotel group officially partnered with the Olive Ridley Project. The immediate focus of the partnership is to set up a turtle rescue centre at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, enabling the team to rehabilitate turtles suffering from such injuries.

“Even though it is a relief to discover these nets and rescue entangled turtles and other marine life, it is tragic to come across unfortunate instances where we have to sort through nets and encounter those that did not survive. Of course, with the dedication of our helpful guests and passionate teams, the removal of these nets and the rescues that follow are perfect examples of how humans can contribute to the survival of these endangered species that we usually encounter. It is my absolute pleasure to be among such a dedicated team and we will continue to work towards our vision for all marine life to swim freely in a debris free ocean,” comments Chiara Fumagalli, Resident Marine Biologist at Coco Collection.

While Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is a known green sea turtle nesting site, Coco Bodu Hithi experienced 3 surprise nests this year where the hatchlings were safely escorted to the open ocean. Guests can expect to see more hatchings at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu as there are a total of 9 nests on the island, with the first one expecting to hatch after 14th June.

Coco Collection is a prestigious hotel group, and a subsidiary of Sunland Hotels. Coco Collection’s portfolio comprises three distinct brands, Coco Resorts : Hotels : Retreats, Coco Privé and Coco Palm. The Coco Resorts : Hotels : Retreats includes the luxury resort Coco Bodu Hithi; Coco Palm features the environmentally conscious escape Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu; and Coco Privé consists of the private and exclusive Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island.