Committed to environmental education and as part of the resort’s ‘Visiting Heroes’ programme, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands will introduce National Geographic Explorer and award-winning Kenyan shark scientist Gibbs Kuguru from 27th March to 12th April. An inspired educational residency will include exclusive guest experiences from shark snorkelling to Q&As with Gibbs, while the deployment of new equipment and shark tagging will support ground breaking conservation research to protect Blacktip Reef Sharks in the Maldives.
The seafaring explorer and scientist will undertake key fieldwork as part of his Doctor of Philosophy in Genomics at Wageningen University, revealing the causes behind a rare skin disorder affecting Blacktip Reef Sharks in the Maldives. A series of events will engage both guests and scholars, inviting Natural Science students of the University of Maldives to join the shark tagging programme and analyse data from the scientist’s inaugural visit. Gibbs will also install a Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) to monitor long-term the Blacktip Reef Sharks in their native habitat.
Led by Gibbs, guests of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel up close and personal with some of the Maldives’ 26 species of sharks, and a chance to witness the gentle and sometimes elusive Blacktip Reef Shark inhabiting the shallow reefs surrounding the resort. Exclusive insights into the scientist’s latest research will be shared in intimate talks and workshops hosted at the dive centre – home to the resort’s Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment Program – and sundown debriefs at the resort’s Beach Shack restaurant.
Gibbs Kuguru has honed his shark wrangling and seafaring skills working with Great White Sharks, Hammerheads, Threshers, Blues, and Sand Tigers. Studying the DNA of sharks, Gibbs is using genetic research to better understand the unique elements in DNA that shape the populations of sharks in the blue wilds of the world. His work on the reefs of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands may reveal insights into how these animals survive in the face of extinction, threatened by overfishing and climate change. Gibbs was honoured just last year with the 2022 National Geographic Wayfinder Award.
The work of Gibbs joins a progressive research community whose impact can be experienced by guests through The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands’ Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Program. Designed for adults and children, this exclusive programme led by marine naturalists, collaborates with world-renowned oceanographic explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, and leading global scientists, to provide unique activities with the preservation of our planet at its core. Guests are able to explore the ocean depths in the legacy of the great Cousteau and join newly formed research teams in their ground-breaking work to monitor ocean plastics with drone technology. The programme inspires guests to discover, explore and engage in nature not just beneath the water, but through the fascinating fauna of the Maldives, and high above sea-level to the wonders of the galaxy.
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