The Olive Ridley Project is passionately protecting sea turtles and their habitats, and actively leading the charge for sea turtle conservation worldwide.


The MISSION of the Olive Ridley Project (ORP) is to protect sea turtles and their habitats through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education and outreach.


Why is it important?

The Olive Ridley Project was initially established in 2013 to find out why countless olive ridley turtles were found entangled in ghost nets in the Maldives, where this species rarely nests. The ocean is full of discarded, lost and abandoned fishing nets – so-called ghost nets. These ghost nets drift with the ocean currents for years, killing millions of marine animals, smothering coral reefs, and dirtying beaches when they wash ashore. 

ORP later expanded their mission to take a multifaceted and holistic approach to protecting sea turtles and their habitats. They now focus on the rescue and rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, scientific research and education, and outreach. Olive Ridley Project’s ever-growing initiatives and priorities have highlighted the importance for global awareness of all threats facing sea turtles. The biggest threats to sea turtles are being caught as by-catch in commercial fishing nets, direct harvest for shells, meat, and eggs, pet trade (hatchlings), entanglement in, and ingestion of, marine garbage (including ghost nests), the destruction of nesting habitats, and climate change. As adults, sea turtles have few natural predators, however, hatchlings face predation from many animals, including crabs, sea birds, fish, and sharks. At this time, all seven species of sea turtle are listed on the endangered species by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna). Through the work of ORP worldwide, scientists, conservationists, policymakers, and the general public have been educated and influenced, putting ORP at the forefront of sea turtle conservation.

How do they do it?

At the core of the Olive Ridley Project’s work is a passionate and dedicated team of scientists, veterinarians, conservationists, citizen scientists and volunteers. They pride themselves on being able to collaborate with a wide range of diverse groups in order to reach their goal and fill data gaps in sea turtle conservation. A UK-based charity, the growing ORP now operates in four atolls in the Maldives, Oman, Seychelles, Pakistan and Kenya.

ORP opened the first veterinary-run Marine Turtle Rescue Center in the Maldives in Baa Atoll in 2017. This was followed by a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in 2019. ORP also runs one of the largest sea turtle photo-ID databases in the world. The Marine Turtle Rescue Centre provides veterinary care and rehabilitation to injured sea turtles rescued across the Maldives.

So far they have treated more than 155 turtle patients and successfully released 87 back into the wild. Resort marine biologists, divers, snorkelers, and boat crews find most of their patients entangled in ghost gear. With injuries too severe for immediate release, many of the turtles would almost certainly not survive without treatment.

The Olive Ridley Project also physically removes ghost nets, promotes recycling of end-of-life fishing nets, offers marine and turtle conservation education programs, including free online courses, and carries out important research on sea turtle populations, distribution, health and threats.

ORP takes a global approach to identifying and filling data gaps in sea turtle research, protecting sea turtles and their habitats, and fulfilling our education and outreach mission. They will continue to collaborate with non-government organizations and local governments to achieve their goal of global conservation.

The Olive Ridley Project relies on donations and grants for funding and depends on volunteers and citizen scientists for much of their work.

How you can #TravelKindly: 
  • Choose Olive Ridley Project as your local charity when you book with Kind Traveler.
  • Submit any sea turtle images you may take in the Maldives to info@oliveridleyproject.org, your images will be used for research purposes and to better understand sea turtle populations in the area
  • If you happen to come across a ghost net, please report it
  • Purchase a leash or collar for your furry pal made from recovered ghost nets, the proceeds will go towards sea turtle conservation 
  • Adopt your very own sea turtle in the Maldives 

 

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