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Volunteers will help run a small rescue and rehabilitation centre for endangered sea turtles (predominantly green and olive ridley turtles). Most of the green turtles arrive at the centre having previously been kept illegally as pets, whereas most of the olive ridleys arrive having been caught in discarded fishing gear. Turtles are cared for in the centre by the resident marine biologists until they can be released back into the wild.

Other important aspects of the center’s work include the clownfish breeding programme and coral restoration programme. An increase in the popularity of clownfish in personal aquaria, owing partly to the success of the film Finding Nemo, placed increasing pressure on the aquarium trade. As a result, the wild capture of clownfish grew exponentially to supply an ever-increasing demand. The clownfish breeding programme aims to reduce the demand for wild caught fish by introducing captive bred clownfish into the aquarium trade, and supplement wild populations by releasing captive bred individuals into the wild. 

The coral restoration program aims to mitigate further anthropogenic damage to the reef around Naifaru. Coral lines have been set up to help support and restore the reef; broken coral fragments are transplanted onto lines and the health of these are monitored regularly.
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Location of the Project:  Naifaru, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE)
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Volunteer Work:  Sea turtle conservation
Age:  18 - 65
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Number of Volunteers:  1 - 8 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Volunteers staying for less than 30 days will need to arrive on a tourist visa whereas those staying for more than 30 days will need to arrive on a business visa. Business visas require a bachelor’s degree, police check, and medical report alongside other documents. All volunteers arriving on a business visa must apply at least 8 weeks in advance.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms in a volunteer house
Food:  Three meals daily
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Airport Transfers:  Transfers are organised by the host organisation, however the cost is the responsibility of the volunteer (this should be no more than $10 USD). The speedboat transfer between Male and Naifaru is included in the project cost.
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, hotel in Male upon arrival/departure (approx. $70 USD - cash payment only), cost of transfers between airport and hotel.
The project is located on the locally inhabited island of Naifaru, which sits within the Lhaviyani Atoll in the north of the Maldives. As the sixth most populous island in the Maldives, Naifaru boasts a lively community and offers a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. Most of the approximately 6000 inhabitants are Maldivian, however Naifaru is also home to a number of immigrant workers from countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The island is packed with intricate streets lined with shops selling everything from ice creams to tailoring services, and there are a number of restaurants serving both local and western delicacies. Take the time to immerse yourself in the vibrant, friendly and welcoming community and kick back and relax on the islands beautiful beaches.
You will be joining a dedicated team of marine conservationists, helping to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles. You will be surrounded by ocean enthusiasts dedicated to making a difference in the marine environment.

You will assist with the rehabilitation of the resident turtles at Atoll Marine Centre, help develop our clownfish-breeding programme, and contribute to various ongoing projects (e.g. coral restoration and community outreach). You will be trained to identify marine organisms and will have the opportunity to explore the coral reefs around Naifaru and other nearby islands. The longer you stay, the more you will experience!

Volunteer tasks :

Mornings:
•    Clean and change the water in the turtle tanks
•    Feed the turtles

Afternoons:
•    Take one of our resident turtles for a swim 
•    Assist the Marine Biologists in delivering a Nature Club session at a local school
•    Monitor/measure coral on our coral lines
•    Beach cleaning

Evenings:
•    If required, help administer medication to the turtles
•    BBQ
•    Card games
•    Catch crabs to feed to the turtles
•    Film night

Daily tasks may vary depending on the time and duration of your stay, and the number of turtles at the center. Saturdays are typically set aside for fun excursions arranged by the project staff.

Please note: Volunteer activities can change at any time based upon the needs of the project
Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available at the accommodation
Laundry
Laundry:  Laundry facilities are available at the accommodation
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in shared accommodation (2-3 per room). All rooms are single sex and are equipped with ceiling fans and an en suite. The volunteer house has electricity, free Wi-Fi, washing facilities, communal living area and fully equipped kitchen. Private rooms and rooms with air conditioning are available at an additional cost (pending availability).
Food:  Volunteers are provided with three meals daily. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served buffet-style at a local restaurant. Vegetarian/Vegan options are available - please inform us of any specific dietary requirements in advance and the local team will be able to cater for these.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  •     Age 18-65
  •     Good level of physical fitness with some swimming experience
  •     Possess an interest in marine life and marine conservation
  •     Positive, open-minded, with a strong work ethic
  •    Snorkelling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins)
Project staff organise weekly excursions for all volunteers (included in the project fee). Activities range from exploring uninhabited islands and specific snorkelling trips, to dolphin watching, fishing, and searching for manta rays. We also endeavour to arrange a day trip to a local resort during each volunteer’s stay.

Participants have the opportunity to take advantage of discounted rates at Kuredu Island Resort and Spa. Please enquire for further details/current deals.
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