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Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme


19 October 2017, by Adam Broadbent

The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to studying the whale shark and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean.

What initially began as a scientific expedition in 2006, the MWSRP has grown to become the only long-term organisation dedicated to study the iconic, yet vulnerable whale shark species in the Maldives.

Their goal is simple: they seek to advance the field of whale shark knowledge and to advocate for sound conservation policy in the Maldives. By encouraging and valuing community and industry stakeholder participation, they are able to leverage the scientific research to safeguard the rich biodiversity and fragile marine ecosystems that are the basis for not only whale sharks, but also life, livelihood and culture in the Maldives.


Mission and Values

Conservation 

They understand that everything is interconnected – the economy, people, culture, whale sharks, and environment – and that local community involvement is central to successful conservation initiatives.

They strive to recognise the importance of these layers and be inclusive in our conservation philosophy towards the sharks we study, the supporting marine ecosystems, and the coastal communities we work with.

Through scientific research and a reverence for ecological principles, their conservation strategy encourages people of all backgrounds and cultures to participate in keeping the fragile Maldivian ecosystems healthy and sound for future generations.

Research

Their research focuses on the whale shark and the supporting marine ecosystems. Day to day activities are based around time on the water collecting scientific baseline data, which guides our scientific publications and advocacy efforts for sound environmental policies.

Their research is used to inform decision-makers and the general public for the good of the whole. They believe that real buy-in can only be achieved when people truly understand the research process and the outcomes it generates.

Their approach aims to involve people: from the local to the international level to demystify the scientific research process and reveal answers about the mysteries of the whale shark species.

Community Mobilisation

They value the inclusion of local community and believe it is central to good conservation practices.

They know that by getting people directly involved and excited in our work, we can create networks of involved citizens, ready to participate in stimulating scientific research and conservation projects related to the whale shark.

By developing dynamic research studies, ensuring transparent communication of findings, and facilitating educational opportunities focusing on the importance of biological diversity, species conservation and environmental stewardship, they know that they can advance the field of research and foster effective conservation initiatives.

All images © Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme | Charity No. 1130369

Adam Broadbent
Co-founder of ZuBlu