Exploring how extreme conservation can save the beauty and nature of the Maldives, meeting passionate conservationists with innovative ideas, giving hope for the future of this unique little piece of paradise.
In Extreme Conservation, airing in June on BBC World News and BBC Reel, BBC wildlife and conservation presenter Michaela Strachan tours the world meeting the individuals fighting against the extinction of species or even entire habitats, telling the extraordinary stories of their battle against the odds to help us all. For the first episode, ‘The Maldives’ Michaela investigates the existential threat this stunning island nation faces, as these sandy islands are literally being washed off the map.
Michaela travels across the Maldives meeting those trying to save it and, in particular, focusing on technology being developed to help support coral reefs, game changing solutions in development to battle the effects of land reclamation and of course the efforts being made by resorts to further sustainable tourism.
Michaela Strachan says: “'I had such an amazing trip to the Maldives. This is a country that's facing head on, the devastating effects of climate change. Effects that are very real and very immediate. I met conservationists and scientists who are coming up with exciting and pioneering projects, creative minds that are thinking out of the box. It was incredibly inspiring to see bright individuals working together to come up with solutions. It really gave me hope for the future of these beautiful islands.”
Coral reefs are critical in trying to dissipate the increasing wave energy of the ocean but face constant bleaching attacks. On the island of Fulhadoo Michaela meets the team from the Coral Institute who are researching how to make the reefs more resilient and developing techniques to regrow the reefs. Their work takes place in conjunction with several eminent international marine environment researchers from the UK, Palau and Australia. They advise on and learn from the work of the institute and to apply any findings elsewhere.
The next stop is Summer Island where Michaela dives with Arjan Sierink, a Dutch researcher pioneering techniques of 3D printing coral reefs in varying materials to encourage rapid growth.
Michaela meets a team of MIT researchers working on a game changing alternative to the usual sand dredging technique for land reclamation. They show her the damage such processes can cause and introduce her to their technology which is harnessing the power of nature, rather than using machines to collect sand to form new islands.
Tourism of course is the economic lifeblood of the country, but is not known for its sustainability credentials. Next up Michaela takes a deep dive into a forward-thinking resort founded by Sonu Shivdasani to see how they are promoting sustainable tourism in the Maldives. Sonu Shivdasani has worked hard to reduce his resort, Sonevafushi’s, carbon footprint. The resort is working hard to support sustainable tourism by using virtually no plastic and turning any waste it produces into souvenirs taken home by its visitors.
Extreme Conservation: The Maldives will be showing on BBC World News at Sat 11 June 17:30 SGT, Sun 12 June 05:30 SGT 1030 SGT 2330 SGT
You will also be able to view on BBC Reel, the premium video and short documentary destination of the BBC.
An upcoming episode of Extreme Conservation will be filmed in Turkey later this year.