Written by Maldives Halal Travel

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands To host National Geographic Explorer Gibbs Kuguru

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives Fari Islands, a luxurious island resort, is offering a unique opportunity to its guests by hosting an exclusive residency for award-winning shark scientist and National Geographic Explorer, Gibbs Kuguru. From March 27 to April 12, 2023, guests at the resort can join Kuguru on an educational journey that includes bespoke experiences such as shark snorkelling, Q&As, and the launch of a Blacktip Reef Shark Conservation Project in the Maldives.

Hailing from Kenya, Kuguru will conduct fieldwork in the Maldives as part of his Doctor of Philosophy in Genomics at Wageningen University, studying a rare skin disorder affecting Blacktip Reef Sharks in the region. To this end, the resort has planned a series of unique events that will engage guests and scholars.

Natural Science students from the Maldives National University will join Kuguru in the shark tagging programme and analyse data for his groundbreaking conservation research. He will also be deploying a Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) which will help in the long-term monitoring of the Blacktip Reef Sharks in their native habitats.

At the end of his residency, Kuguru will take guests on an underwater experience where conservationists can snorkel up close and personal with some of the 26 species of shark found in the Maldives, including the elusive Blacktip Reef Shark. Guests can also attend interactive talks and workshops hosted by Kuguru to learn more about his research.

Kuguru's work primarily centers around genetic research and studying the DNA of sharks, which helps increase understanding of how characteristic elements in DNA influence shark populations in the wild. His pioneering research in the Maldives may reveal how Blacktip Reef sharks survive in the face of extinction threatened by overfishing and climate change.

As a recipient of the 2022 National Geographic Wayfinder Award, Kuguru is a valuable addition to the progressive research community established at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, through Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment Programme. The programme, curated for both adults and children, is led by marine naturalists in collaboration with world-famous oceanographic explorer and environmentalist, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and leading scientists worldwide.

Through the programme, guests are encouraged to explore and engage with nature at all levels, from the fauna of the Maldives to initiatives high above the surface, highlighting the importance of preserving the planet.

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