Ecocare Maldives has said that Keylakunu Island of Haa Dhaalu atoll 'is one of a kind' and that 'we should be proud' of it.
The organization's Director of Advocacy, Maeed Mohamed Zahir emphasized that the Avicennia marina forest found in Keylakunu cannot be found anywhere else in the world, especially not in an island ecosystem.
Noting that 'there are just a few places in the Maldives that shows its rich biodiversity,' Maeed said that Keylakunu is one such place, highlighting the importance of protecting the island.
He also noted that international experts had, back in the early 2000s, recommended the Maldivian government to declare Keylakunu a biosphere reserve.
Furthermore, the environment advocate highlighted that the entirety of Baa atoll was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve 'way after' the recommendation by the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME).
Amid its efforts to create awareness on the importance of the uninhabited island, RaajjeTV has obtained the letter sent to the Maldivian government by ISME's Executive Secretary, Shigeyuki Baba, recommending that Keylakunu island is designated as a Wild Mangrove Reserve in the Maldives 'not only for our generation but also future generations'.
The station launched the campaign last Saturday, out of fear that the government's plans to use the island 'for resort development' may cause irreversible damage to the island's ecosystem.
A number of people took to social media to show discontent towards the government's decision, calling on authorities 'to keep the island as it is'.
The now uninhabited island was previously leased to a private party for agricultural development. Over 200 years ago, a tropical storm destroyed the island, forcing its residents to permanently move to nearby islands.