Mangroves at K. Huraa, Maldives
With an ever-growing fascination towards mangroves, we set sail on our first exploration of a Mangrove swamp in the Maldives, to the island of Huraa (located in Kaafu Atoll; about an hour and a half away from Male’ city)
Roughly an area of 9 acres of land at the center of the island of Huraa is home to a complex ecosystem of Mangroves, Fiddler crabs, Herons, Nerites and Mudskippers. Fiddler crabs of blue and red scurry back in to the hundreds of holes they call home as we walk past the tall stilted mangroves that surround the muddy waters of the swamp. The clear waters reveal shoals of larvae and fry taking refuge in the safe and placid swamp before swimming in to the blue lagoon that surround the island upon adulthood.
This fringe mangrove forest locally known as the ‘Huraa Kulhi’ barely connects to the surrounding waters of the Laccadive Sea during low tide. It attracts a variety of birds including the Maldivian Water Hens (Amaurornis phoenicurus), Herons (Ardea cinerea), and the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), among myriads of others.
Mangroves in the archipelago of the Maldives are not very well developed by comparison to those in regions such as Indonesia and Malaysia or even the Pacific Islands or Africa. Reasons vary from lack of access to fresh water and the limited land size available in the islets. However, a little over a hundred islands are believed to contain within them these beautiful and complex ecosystem within ecosystems that go hand in hand with the coral formations that is the Maldives.