Beneath the shimmering waters that surround the island archipelago of the Maldives’ Baa Atoll region, a fragile world quietly rebuilds itself. Coral reefs, the most diverse type of marine habitat, protect the pristine beaches at Anantara Kihavah Villas and guard Kihavah Huravalhi Island’s crystal-clear lagoon. They also support an astounding array of tropical fish, crustaceans and bizarre-looking molluscs. But for all of its beauty and apparent resilience, coral is a sensitive organism, vulnerable to extreme weather and sudden environmental changes.
In its commitment to protect the environment, Anantara Kihavah Villas has initiated the Coral Adoption Programme, a long-term plan designed to share learning experiences with guests, accelerate the regeneration of coral growth in the atoll reef, and ultimately ensure the future of this unique Maldivian destination.
Extending across the expansive Laccadives Sea, the Maldives is a country of atolls; small coral islands encircled by azure lagoons. Surrounded by the vastness of the ocean, the Baa Atoll, like the rest of the country, is vulnerable to extreme weather as well as the effects of global warming. In 1998 more than 90 percent of shallow coral reef in the Maldives died when El Niño, a climatic phenomenon, raised sea temperatures by 4°C. It was enough to stress the coral and to release the microscopic algae that give them their kaleidoscopic colours, so the reef bleached. The coral has begun to regenerate since suffering from the bleaching event, but future temperature fluctuations threaten its survival. The Baa Atoll still needs help.
During the construction of Anantara Kihavah Villas in November 2010, the resident Marine Biologist created coral gardens and attached coral to iron frames in the middle of the Over-Water Pool Villas, joining an arrangement that will resemble the ‘A’ in Anantara. Environmentally friendly and designed to promote the flow of water and nutrients, the frames are covered in sand to encourage coral to grow faster than it would naturally. This was done to prevent more damage to the Baa Atoll’s fragile marine ecosystem.