In December 2010, The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi, embarked on a coral conservation project after discovering an 8,000 year old coral reef in its shores that was badly damaged by the 2004 tsunami.
Since then, at suitably low tides, the resort has conducted coral clearing activities such as the removal of dead corals from the reef and has taken guests on educational coral walks to learn about this fragile ecosystem.
The resort then elevated its efforts to the next stage of coral rescue and rehabilitation by building a coral nursery in 2012 to facilitate these objectives.
Believed to be the first of its kind in SEA, it is here that guests can participate in the unique and inspiring activity of growing new coral which, after 4 - 12 months of nurturing, will be returned to the sea where they will bloom and blossom as part of a healthy new coral garden.
The coral nursery is not only a rehabilitation centre for rescued damaged coral, it also offers guests the unique opportunity to participate in inspiring activities to grow new coral and to learn the process of nurturing these new polyps.
The nursery also provides a great snorkeling area for guests of all ages where our passionate coral and marine curator educate them on the fascinating life under the sea.
Coral transplanting sessions are open to all and commence with an educational talk about coral and the importance of coral ecosystems.
These ‘hands-on’ sessions then include the transplanting of live coral onto new substrates which are then placed in the nursery for observation, until it is determined that they are fit to be relocated onto our reef.
The aim is to spread the conservation message to all involved, especially the children.
Private guided snorkel experiences are a wonderful opportunity to introduce guests to our nursery and coral conservation programme.
A ‘one-on-one’ experience, guests are fitted with a life-jacket and float on the surface while being guided around the nursery.
With occasional good general visibility on the reef, this is a great chance for guests to see up close the many treasures that exist in our bay.
Coral feeding sessions are best suited to younger guests. We endeavor to allow the corals to feed on the plankton that comes from our seawater intake; however it is necessary to supplement this diet, as the plankton can be quickly removed by the filtration system.
Through the young marine biologist activity, children are invited to spend a day with our marine and coral curator, learning everything from the heart of house pumps and filter operation, to taking temperature and PH tests as well as assisting in coral transplanting sessions.
The coral nursery will also contribute to Malaysia’s next generation of marine biologists.
Since the programme started in late June 2014, The Andaman has hosted a total of 18 marine biology undergraduates on an internship programme at the resort, conducting various research tasks and providing valuable insight and advice on everything from coral propagation to artificial reef module designs.
In 2014, The Andaman also partnered with Lafarge Cement and the National University of Malaysia (UKM) to introduce ARMS (Artificial Reef Module System) as an addition to the many coral-related activities at the resort.
It involves guests assisting the coral team to make unique concrete structures that will act both as a coral substrate and as a living space for juvenile fish. This ‘10-year plan’ project aims to develop a sustainable fishing resource for the people of Langkawi.
Following the resort’s commitment to Malaysia’s next generation of marine scientists and biologists, The Andaman launched the next phase of its coral conservation programme with the opening of a marine life laboratory in 2015.
The multi-purpose indoor space function as a research lab for marine science and biology students to help increase their understanding of coral reef ecosystems and effective artificial reef management, in addition to encouraging resort guests to explore, experience and interact directly with the students and coral curators.
Equipped with aquariums, technical equipment such as microscopes, maggylamps, computers, specialist lighting and photographic materials, a library of research journals and textbooks, specimen displays and more, the facility will serve as the main research lab for the resort’s coral programme.
The marine life laboratory opens daily from 2:00PM to 5:00PM for guests who are interested in discovering more about the marine life found in the Datai Bay.
On June 8, 2017 as the resort celebrated World Oceans Day 2017 by launching a coral garden as the next phase of the on-going project.
The coral garden is an identified area within the shores of the Datai Bay where matured corals will be moved back to their natural habitat – the fringing reef – for further observation and research on how well these corals can survive in ocean. Ultimately, the resort aims to rebuild and restore the damaged reef.
As of May 2017, it was estimated that there is an average of 15,000 visits to the coral nursery per year including school visits as well as corporate companies and an average of 6,000 visits to The Andaman’s marine life laboratory a year.
A total of 55 ARMs and 30 mini-ARMs were also deployed into the ocean since its launch and in the last 18 months, about 200 corals were moved back into the reef with the coral nursery now housing about 100 baby corals waiting to be taken back into the ocean.
“Not many places in the world can offer a tropical rainforest and a coral reef within 100 meters of each other but The Andaman most certainly can. What started out as a voluntary activity for The Andaman associates during low tides is now a highlighted activity for guests. It all started with a few guests watching as the team carefully removes dead coral from the sea that were rolling over and damaging live corals. When we explained what we were doing, we were pleasantly surprised at how many adults and children wanted to help and do their little bit to save the environment – one polyp at a time!” says Carlos Tarrero, general manager of The Andaman.
Awarded the ASEAN Green Hotel Award by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, 2013/14 International Hotel Awards for Best Sustainable Hotel and Best Spa Hotel in Malaysia and a winner in 8 different Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA), The Andaman brings together relaxed 5-star luxury and an unparalleled destination experience in the heart of some of the most alluring nature.
To learn more about our coral experience visit www.theandaman.com or call +60 4 959 1088.
About The Luxury Collection® Hotels & Resorts
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