Gili Lankanfushi unveils Gili Veshi; a brand new marine biology centre
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives has unveiled ‘Gili Veshi’- an innovative new marine biology centre. The facility was officially inaugurated on June 8, coinciding with World Oceans Day.
Gili Veshi, which translates as Gili Environment in the local Dhivehi language, has become the island’s primary marine research facility and the central hub for all sustainability and conservation issues, as well as offering a host of new guest experiences, says the resort in a statement.
“Nature lovers will have the opportunity to get involved through participating in monthly reef cleaning efforts to remove oceanic litter, coral watch dives to check on new specimens and Crown of Thorn’s eradication dives to remove the invasive starfish species,” read the statement.
“Guests can also opt to sponsor the team’s research and conservation efforts, or offset their carbon footprint by planting carbon-sinking sea grass, it adds.
According to the resort, the island’s younger clientele will have a wide variety of exciting new experiences and activities tailor-made for them. New educational treasure hunts throughout the island, both on dry land and beneath the waves, will see children seeking out clues about the island’s environment, accompanied by the marine biology team.
It also says that fascinating marine movies and interactive iPads will educate children about sustainability and the marine environment, whilst a roster of activities have been planned to keep kids happy during rainy days.
According to the resort, the Gili Veshi team will monitor all aspects of the island’s reef biodiversity, including sea surface temperature and coral growth, to protect the fragile coral reef environment. They will also roll out a number of conservation initiatives, including planting seagrass to create new feeding grounds for endangered turtle species.
Gili Lankanfushi’s innovative and hugely successful coral lines project — which sees coral fragments suspended in mid water to accelerate growth and reduce predation — was the first of its kind in the Maldives and will be expanded following the opening of Gili Veshi, with the existing coral lines transplanted onto the house reef and monitored as the primary stage of a wider transplantation effort. Further afield, the team will spearhead a new conservation outreach initiative to focus on the local community and schools on nearby Himmafushi Island and the capital, Malé.
According to the resort, the new marine biology shack will also include a large wet lab to support the team’s ongoing research efforts and will host visiting researchers and academics from across the globe. I will also invite guests to visit the lab to learn more about the local marine and terrestrial environment, with high-tech new microscopes available to allow guests to study local coral specimens through a lens.
Working with the Maldivian government and NGOs including the Manta Trust, the Olive Ridley Project and Shark Watch, the Gili Veshi team will continually monitor the marine ecosystem and threats to biodiversity including coral bleaching and the onslaught of invasive Crown of Thorn starfish, it adds.
Located in North Malé Atoll, Gili Lankanfushi opened in 2000 as the original over-water resort, Soneva Gili. In 2012, the island was acquired by HPL (Hotel Properties Limited), a Singapore-based company investing in hotels, lifestyle and properties around the world. Voted number one hotel in the world by TripAdvisor in 2015, Gili Lankanfushi is an easy 20-minute speedboat transfer from Velana International Airport.