Marine Discovery Centre
Opened September 2011, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa's Marine Discovery Centre (MDC) is an interactive research and education centre that introduces guests and local school children alike to the role we can each play in conserving the local and global marine ecosystem.
Run by a team of marine biologists from Male-based environmental consultancy Seamarc Pvt. Ltd., the Centre features 3D movies and 2D presentations on specific areas of conservation close to the Kuda Huraa team's heart, including turtles, coral reefs, sharks and dolphins.
The MDC is the starting point for the Resort's Shark and Marine Life Safari, Dolphin Watching and Coral Reefscaping activities. It is also the headquarters of the Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program that simultaneously works to monitor, protect, rehabilitate and increase awareness of turtle conservation throughout the Maldives, as well as rear turtle hatchlings until they grow big and strong enough to protect themselves in the wild.
The stunning azure waters surrounding Four Seasons Resorts Maldives are home to stretches of delicate coral reef. In 1998, 90% of Maldivian shallow-water corals were bleached and killed by unusually warm waters caused by an exceptionally strong El Niño. At that time, Four Seasons enlisted the help of Seamarc Pvt. Ltd to see what could be done to help these ailing reefs and generate new ones. The resulting coral propagation project has grown to become one of the most successful of its kind in the world, having transplanted over 60,000 fragments of coral between 2005 and 2009 alone. It is hoped that the project’s groundbreaking clone-selection research will one day lay the foundation for the worldwide use of coral frames to help protect reefs against global warming. Guests can see the reefs and participate in their renewal through the following program offered by the Resort.
Reefscapers offers guests the unique opportunity to participate in the building of the coral reefs. Venture out into our lagoon to witness the pioneering work of Reefscapers. You can also join a Build-a-Reef session in the Marine Discovery Centre, where you can even sponsor your very own coral frame and watch it grow on the Marine Savers website.
The Resort’s turquoise lagoon has had artificial reef structures successfully planted within its waters, one of the many ways in which the Resort is working to protect these ecologically vital creatures of the sea.
The Maldives is home to 37 species of sharks. The most commonly encountered species are the grey reef, whitetip, blacktip, nurse, scalloped hammerhead, silvertip and whale sharks. Diving and snorkelling with these magnificent creatures is one of the country’s major attractions, but the true value of their oceanic presence is priceless. Sharks are the top predators in their ecosystem. Eliminating them from our oceans would lead to an imbalance of other creatures, threatening populations of the smallest creatures and resulting in catastrophic implications for the whole marine food chain.
Just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, the waters around the island of Bandos are a playground for blacktip reef sharks – regular sightings top eight at a time.
Before the excursion, guests are invited to attend an educational briefing conducted by our marine biologist to understand why sharks are one of the most valuable and vulnerable fish species in the ocean.
Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles live in the Maldives, and two of these are regularly seen. The critically endangered hawksbill turtle lives on coral reefs, while the endangered green turtle feeds on seagrass, keeping the seabed healthy and productive. The Resort’s Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Program works with island communities across the Maldives to increase awareness of turtle conservation and protect nests from poachers. The project also gives endangered green turtles a head start in life by rearing a select number of hatchlings from protected nests for up to 15 months to improve their chance of survival in the wild. For the first nine months they are kept in land-based pools before they are relocated to larger enclosures in the lagoon where they will start to forage for themselves on sea grasses, adapting them to the wild. Guests can attend daily turtle feeding sessions to learn more about Kuda Huraa's most delicate little residents.
With the Resort’s marine life snorkel safari, guests can learn about and observe creatures such as sea turtles in their natural habitat. This activity begins with an educational briefing led by our marine biologists, providing insight and understanding into the lives and habits of the turtles. Then, guests travel to a nearby snorkelling site where they have the opportunity to see the turtles up close.
Spinner dolphins are small dolphins famous for their acrobatic leaps and spins. Encountering these clever creatures is a fun and entertaining experience. The waters around Kuda Huraa are home to hundreds of dolphins, easily reached by a short boat ride.
The dolphin experience begins with a short briefing from one of our marine biologists, who offers information on this fascinating marine animal. Then guests hop on board a boat and cruise through the atoll, where they watch schools of dolphins swim around them, just centimetres away.