Maldives
Location Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India. It consists of about 2,000 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls.  Only about 200 of the islands are inhabited.
National websites Visit Maldives
Embassy / Chancery in U.S. Maldives does not have an embassy in the US, but does have a Permanent Mission to
the UN in New York 
Agencies responsible for biological inventory and conservation   Republic of Maldives. Ministry of Planning, Human Resources and Environment, Male, MV
Non-governmental organizations concerned with conservation
Major Natural Resources Vegetation: Because the soil is very sandy and lacks important nutrients, there is only very sparse vegetation.  Coconut palms, breadfruit trees, and screwpines are among the few species. There are a few patches of rainforest on a few of the islands.

Wildlife: The only naturally occurring animals in Maldives are the giant fruit bat, some lizards, and some small rodents.  Domestic animals include cats, a few chickens, goats and some rabbits. The most abundant natural resources are the marine life that reside in teh coral reefs around the islands.  There are over 200 species of coral and over 1,000 species of fish, shellfish, sponges,and it is a breeding ground for several species of marine turtles. 
 

Major Environmental and Conservation Issues The most serious concerns of the Maldivian government are coastal erosion of coral reefs, global warming and water supply.

Coral mining and pollution from solid waste are contributing to the loss of the protective coral reefs that surround the islands.  This is one of the only features of the islands that helps to prevent against erosion by the sea.

Global warming is a serious concern for the Maldives as well (see link to president's address under Legislation below).  Eighty percent of the Maldives is only a meter or less above sea level.  Global warming, which causes rising water levels in the world's oceans, may in turn cause devestateing flooding that could wipe out the tiny country.  Global warming also contributes to the El Nino weather phenomenon which in recent years has caused elevated water temperatures that cause coral bleaching.

Because it is a developing country and because its unique island geography presents special diffculty to the implementation of a sewage system on most individual islands, groundwater contamination by human waste is a serious concern and contributes to widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and worm diseases. 

Statistics Information Sources
Land area  300 Sq. km CIA Factbook
Area of forest  9 Sq. km CIA Factbook
Area of wetlands (Sq. km) CIA Factbook
Area of territorial waters Territorial Sea 12 nm CIA Factbook
Population: 290,211 (July 1998 est.)   Density: ( 967.37 /Sq. km)


  CIA Factbook
Area protected (ha) (only areas >1000ha) at all IUCN levels:  none   Fraction of land area protected (%):    
Major Protected Areas List of Major Protected Areas   No listing for Maldives Information Center for the Environment
Endemic Species
Mammals  no listing
Birds no listing 
Reptiles no listing 
Amphibians no listing 
Fish no listing 
Invertebrates 3 species of corals
Plants no listing 
 
Endangered, Threatened and Vulnerable Species
Mammals  none
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibians none 
Fish none 
Invertebrates 3 species of coral
Plants No listing for Maldives 


 

Complete Plant Listing

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Extinct Species
Mammals none listed
Birds none listed 
Reptiles none listed 
Amphibians none listed 
Fish none listed 
Invertebrates none listed 
Plants none listed 


 

Complete Plant Listing

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Species listed on CITES Appendices


CITES-listed Species Database
Legislation
Laws protecting endangered or threatened species
Laws protecting endangered ecosystems
Signatory to CITES not a signatory party
Signatory to Ramsar Wetlands Convention not a signatory party
Signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity  June 12, 1992  Ratified: November 9, 1992
Signatory to Migratory Bird Treaty not a signatory party
Member of International Whaling Commission not a sgnatory party
Signatory to other international treaties designed to protect or manage biological resources Party to:
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal 
Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer 
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 
*ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. MAUMOON ABDUL GAYOOM, PRESIDENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES, AT THE NINTEENTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF AN OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE  IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21 - 24 June 1997
Natural Resource Use Information Sources
Fisheries Fishing is the second largest industry in Maldives, accounting for 11.8% of GDP (a 1994 figure) and most exports.  Tuna is one of the main species caught and it is noted on this website that the country using "dolpin-friendly" harvesting practices. British Commonwealth Online
Forestry / deforestation While deforestation is a minor concern, most of the country doesn't have soil rich enough to support much plant life, so forestry is not much of an issue.  There are only a few patches of rain forest on a few of the islands. British Commonwealth Online
Ecotourism Tourism is the major industry in Maldives.  The country draws tourists by advertising the beauty of it's natural resources. British Commonwealth Online
Trade in wildlife products
Hunting The Maldives practices a strong conservation policy. The use of harpoon guns and hunting of marine mamals such as whales and dolphins and large fishes like the whale shark is strictly prohibited. There are no species of major fauna to hunt.  British Commonwealth Online
Other uses of natural resources Coral mining for use in building and jewelry has caused some of the islands to be more susceptible to erosion effects of the sea.  U.S. Department of State Background Notes
Human Impacts on Natural Resources Information Sources
Air pollution Air pollution caused by the highly populated countries in Asia and India is carried south by northeast monsoon winds in the winter months and has subsequently caused a thick layer of brown haze to cover the Indian Ocean area where Maldives is located.  This haze causes disruption of the underwater life cycle by decreasing the amount of sunlight that reaches the habitat.  Environmental News Service  June 10, 1999
Water pollution Because Maldives is a developing island nation, it has many problems with waste disposal and sewage that contaminate the groundwater.  This is an issue of major concern since it has such limited supply of freshwater. British Commonwealth Online
Development activities Since only 200 of the 1,200 islands in Maldives are inhabited, uninhabited islands are continuously being developed.  Mostly these islands are turned into  resorts to support the country's tourism, its main industry. British Commonwealth Online
Introduced species Domestic animals such as cats, rabbits, goats and chickens.  Honeybees were introduced as an experimental aid in agriculture "to improve crop yeilds" British Commowealth Online
Legislation addressing these issues
Restoration and Reintroduction Information Sources
Programs for restoration of damaged habitat  none found
Programs for ex situ conservation (captive breeding and reintroduction) of endangered species none found

Return to Endangered Species Protection around the World

Page compiled by Erin Kathleen Thomas as part of a class project in h90 "The Science of Biodiversity and Conservation" (Peter J. Bryant, Instructor), University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA