A rare and critically endangered mangrove species, bruguiera hainesii has been discovered in Maldives.
Environment Ministry announced on Thursday that the species was discovered during an ecological survey of the mangrove forest of H. A. Kelaa in March.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Maldives under the USAID-funded Regenerate Project run by the Maldivian government to collect data on protected sites.
The project was a collaboration between Environment Ministry, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and IUCN.
According to the Environment Ministry, four mangrove trees of the bruguiera hainesii species were discovered during the survey in Kelaa. The trees were identified by IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group and MSG Red List Coordinator, Dr. Jean Yong.
Bruguiera hainesii is one of the two critically endangered mangrove species listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The species has previously been found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malay Peninsular, Thailand and Myanmar.
According to a global survey in 2010, the world had just 200 fully grown trees of the species, and was drawing rapidly close to extinction.
Environment Ministry described the discovery of the rare mangrove species in Kelaa as an additional feature which makes the island unique.
Environment Ministry, EPA and IUCN have prepared a report on the survey in Kelaa.
Maldives had previously recorded 14 species on mangroves, and the discovery of the rare bruguiera hainesii species increases the number of mangrove species recorded in Maldives to 15.
Environment Ministry said it’s possible that bruguiera hainesii species may be found in mangrove forests in additional Maldivian islands, and is discussing a local name for the species with other relevant agencies.