Third annual Whale Shark Festival to promote conservation and creativity

whale shark festivalMaldives Whale Shark Research Programme is collaborating with Maldivian artists to celebrate the beautiful whale shark species during their upcoming Whale Shark Festival on Saturday August 29th.

Developed by MWSRP and IUCN Maldives in 2013, the festival exists to provide the island communities of South Ari Atoll with the opportunity to celebrate the whale shark and the marine diversity of their atoll whilst promoting environmental sustainability and conservation at a grassroots level.

To be held on the local island of Dhidhoo in South Ari Atoll, this year’s festival represents the culmination of many creative workshops held over the past few months in which local communities were encourage to produce art celebrating island life and the marine diversity of South Ari atoll and it’s Marine Protected Area (the S.A.M.P.A).

The festival will take place on the weekend of International Whale Shark Day, beginning with a ‘ScienceFEST’ mini-conference on Friday 28th August for teachers, community leaders and marine biologists before the whole community travels to the Dhidhoo for the main event on Saturday 29th August.

Each participating island will create a large-scale kinetic whale shark sculpture from recycled materials for the procession to be accompanied by endangered reef fish inspired art work and costumes, ensuring that conservation and awareness underpin the whole of the Festival Programme.

The event hopes to attract festival goers from across the atoll, Male and beyond as a yearly opportunity to celebrate the craftsmanship and creativity of the island communities and to celebrate the area’s unique role in international whale shark ecology.