ASD Students Take On The Maldives

Victoria G. P., Reporter

From October 12th to October 15th, ASD students experienced the adventure of a lifetime when traveling to Dhigurah, Maldives to learn about the amazing, yet endangered, sea animal of the Whale Shark. 

Known as a touristic hotspot by many, the Maldives heavily rely on tourism for their economy and lucky for them, their beautiful beaches and more attract over 1 million tourists per year according to statistics from World Data. But, these visitors don’t only come for the amazing beaches, its population of whale sharks helps too. 

There’s one word to describe seeing whale sharks in the Maldives, chaos. In recent years this chaos has grown as boats pile around the whale sharks threatening their habitat and tourists with their impatience and arrogance quickly jump into the water disturbing the animals. 

For solely one good picture, whale sharks are being threatened by people not abiding by the rules being put in place to ensure safety of the whale sharks. 

According to an article published by Inertia Network “the region has experienced a 33% reduction in the number of whale sharks visiting the area annually between 2014 and 2019” (“Chasing Sharks”). 

This disturbing number is mainly due to speeding incidents injuring the animals, not following the Code of Conduct set out by the Maldives and much more. So how does ASD play a role in this problem?

In October, alongside  Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP), ASD students traveled to the Maldives to learn how the group works and how they help to protect the endangered sea animal. 

When speaking to Giovanna D. (‘25), a student who participated in the trip, she too wanted to experience the joy of seeing a whale shark for the first time, one of the main reasons she decided to attend the trip, and as what she described as “majestic”. 

One of ASD’s whale shark encounters (Photographer: Giovanna D. ’25)

In addition, during the trip students got to participate in numerous activities before their first encounter with the whale sharks including manually id’ing whale sharks which Giovanna describes as a process in which you have pictures of whale sharks and you find matches, something that required a lot of patience. 

But, they not only focused on whale sharks but also helped with the community around them by participating in a beach/harbor cleanup after the storm. 

ASD participating in the beach cleanup. (Photographer: Giovanna D. ’25)



All these activities helped them to learn more about whale sharks and to prepare them for their life changing encounter. And if one thing is for sure for Giovanna, she most definitely recommends this experience to anyone and she herself would and “will probably go again”.