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Support the Kerzner Marine Foundation projects or mail your check or money order to:

Kerzner Marine Foundation
1000 South Pine Island Road
Suite 800
Plantation, FL 33324-3907

Funded Projects

Kerzner Marine Foundation is currently funding five projects worldwide: Facilitating the Expansion of Andros National Park, The Bahamas; Cetaceans of Bangladesh: Conserving a Regional Hotspot of Species Diversity and Abundance with Local Communities and Institutions; Coral Reefs of Northern Sumatra: Rebuilding Local Livelihoods and Protecting Outstanding Seascapes; Whale Sharks of the Maldives and Philippines: Migratory and Foraging Ecology, Demography, and Population Genetics; and The Blue Project, The Bahamas.

The Nature Conservancy and Bahamas National Trust
Facilitating the Expansion of Andros National Park, Bahamas

Project Summary
The Nature Conservancy, working in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust and is creating a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the west side of Andros Island. The strategy for setting aside this area as a national park includes:
  1. Conducting a biological survey of the western side of the island
  2. Using the biological survey results to prioritize the sites on the western side of Andros most needed of protection
  3. Completing a social and economic impact study on the effects of making the western side of Andros a national marine park
  4. Meeting and communicating with as well as educating local community members to receive their support for the project
  5. Obtaining governmental support and approval of the designation of the western side of Andros Island as a Marine Protected Area
  6. Creating and implementing a management plan to ensure the area is preserved

Why chose the western side of Andros Island to be protected? Andros Island, the largest in the Bahamas, contains some of the most intact marine and terrestrial habitats left in the Bahamas. The massive west side estuaries are vital nursery and foraging habitats for commercially valuable species such as Nassau grouper, spiny lobster, tarpon, and bone fish. If this area is damaged it will have an immediate and negative long-term impact on both the commercial and sportfishing industries.

Activities occurring during this project include:

  1. Working with the government to finalize the Park’s boundaries
  2. Delivering information on the project through the media, brochures, maps, and community consultations
  3. Conducting field trips to the site with key government officials
  4. Implementing a Conservation Area Plan
  5. Building the capacity of the staff at Bahamas National Trust
  6. Training Bahamians how to implement a management plan
Kerzner Marine Foundation Investment: $675,000

Cetaceans of Bangladesh: Conserving a Regional Hotspot of Species Diversity and Abundance with Local Communities and Institutions
Wildlife Conservation Society

Project Summary

Asia hosts the greatest number of whales and dolphins at risk of extinction in the world, yet few resources have been devoted to saving species or populations. Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) cetacean program in Asia was designed to identify and develop a set of priority research and conservation projects, advise government agencies and NGOs on policy issues, and build the capacity of local scientists and resource managers.

Through studies conducted in 2002-2005, WCS identified a 120-km-wide belt of estuarine, coastal, and pelagic waters in Bangladesh as a hotspot of cetacean abundance and diversity that is in urgent need of conservation. This prime cetacean habitat extends across the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest in the Sundarbans National Park and offshore to a 900-plus-meter undersea canyon known as the Swatch-of-No-Ground. This area supports extraordinary cetacean diversity, and several species that occur here in significant numbers are regionally at risk. The northern waterways of the mangrove forest encompass the farthest downstream range of the “endangered” Gange River dolphin or shushuk (Platanista gangetica). In a generally narrow geographic band, occurring within the same habitat is the farthest upstream distribution of a seasonally mobile population of the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris). This population is probably the world’s largest, possibly in an order of magnitude. Farther offshore is the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis), finless porpoise (Neophaocaena phocaenoides), Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), spinner dolphin (S. longirostris), as well as the Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) and the fin whale (B. physalus).

Optimism of the long-term survivability of cetaceans in these waters is tempered by increasing threats from incidental killing in gillnet fisheries, depletion of prey due to loss of fish and crustacean spawning habitat and to the massive nonselective catch of fish fingerlings and crustacean larvae in small mesh “mosquito” nets, and toxic contamination from large, upstream human population centers. An additional threat is declining freshwater flows from upstream abstraction in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Megna river system. WCS seeks to ensure the long-term protection of cetacean diversity in Bangladesh now while the current population sizes of several species at risk are known or appear to be sufficient for long-term persistence if threats can be reduced.

Project objectives include:

  1. Develop and implement a conservation plan that includes establishing a protected area network which benefits the range of cetacean diversity in Bangladesh
  2. Identify and map areas of high cetacean diversity and occurrence and evaluate and promote hotspot sites for protected status based on logistic and resource use criteria
  3. Provide training and technical support for scientists and resource managers to devise, advocate, and execute rigorous research and effective conservation interventions
  4. Foster support for cetacean conservation through community education programs, development of educational materials for dissemination through popular media, and workshops and meetings with government officials and NGO representatives
  5. Strengthen an existing cetacean monitoring program in the Sundarbans that uses information on cetacean sighting recorded systematically by the captains of nature tourism vessels
  6. Engage Forest Department officials and Navy and Coast Guard officers in the implementation of the Cetacean Conservation and Protected Area Plan and development of a cetacean mortality and threat monitoring network
KMF Investment: $315,000

Whale Sharks of the Maldives and Philippines: Migratory and Foraging Ecology, Demography, and Population Genetics
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

Project Summary

The overall objective of the project is to document the use of marine habitats (geographic and vertical) of whale sharks in the Maldives and Philippines using an integrated three-pronged approach.

Objective One: Telemetry documentation of the use of geographic and vertical marine habitats.
Whale sharks will be tagged in the coastal waters of the Maldives and Philippines each year with either satellite-linked radio transmitters (i.e., pop-up tags [a.k.a PSATs] that do not need to be recovered to acquire data) or archival data recorders (which do need to be recovered to acquire data) or both. PSATs will be programmed to release from sharks about 6 to 12 months after attachment. Archival recorders will be programmed to collect data for up to 2 years but efforts will be made to recover them within a year of attachment. The data that will be acquired through earth-orbiting satellites or directly will be used to describe the geographic and horizontal movements of whale sharks during the periods that tags remain attached to them. They will also be correlated with independently collected (by other remote sensing programs) data on various physical and biotic variables to assess what influences, constrains, or drives seasonal and annual movements of whale sharks, what may attract whale sharks to the Maldives and Philippines and what may sustain them while in the area and how coastal development may affect those key factors.

Objective Two: Mark-recapture estimates of population size and movements of whale sharks.
Photographs will be made of all whale sharks encountered in the Maldives and Philippines and then compared with photographs made in those areas later and with photographs available in various regional and global photo-repositories. Estimates of regional population size will be made when feasible using simple mark-recapture methods. Determination of gross movements of whale sharks will also be made using repeat photographs of the individual sharks at various times.

Objective Three: Determination of the relationships of whale sharks that appear in the Dubai/UAE to those in other areas of the Indian Ocean using molecular genetic techniques.
Skin samples will be collected directly from sharks observed or tagged with electronic transmitters and recorders in the Maldives and Philippines during field efforts conducted there under this project. Additional samples will also be obtained from whale sharks in other areas where we are conducting independent collaborative studies (i.e., Kenya, Caribbean) or where colleagues are conducting studies and have agreed to provide samples (e.g., eastern Indian Ocean and Indonesia). The level of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite DNA loci of whale sharks will be assessed for the western Indian Ocean. The number and type of mtDNA sequences found in that analysis will be compared to our previous global survey to determine where whale sharks seen in the Maldives and Philippines have been coming from and going to and to determine whether there are regional differences in populations that may inform coastal state and international management regimes.

Kerzner Marine Foundation Investment: $300,000

Coral Reefs of Northern Sumatra: Rebuilding Local Livelihoods and Protecting Outstanding Seascapes
Wildlife Conservation Society

Project Summary
The aim of Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) project is to conserve the vital marine resources of the northwestern Sumatran coastal area that fulfill the needs of coastal communities. The WCS team of local Indonesian staff will lay the foundation for the development of a scientifically based and community-accepted MPA network in the islands of northern Aceh, an area hit hard by the tsunami of December 2004.

Their efforts include:
  1. Sound scientific understanding of marine resources and socioeconomic factors that influence their use
  2. Training and technical support for resource managers, scientists, and local communities
  3. Involvement of local communities, governments, and NGOs in development of tourism strategies and programs that can fund conservation management and provide economic relief
  4. Continued communication of all information and results to communities and other stakeholders

WCS’s approach to MPA development in Indonesia is unique, and, most importantly, proven successful. WCS is the main technical advisor to the Government of Indonesia on the first re-zoning of a Marine National Park in Indonesia, in the Karimunjawa Islands. Their Indonesian team led the planning and zoning process, using exhaustive community consultation to identify community needs, build trust among stakeholders, develop a sense of ownership in the protected area and its objectives, and greatly increase the likelihood of the MPA meeting its goals. The management plan developed and legislated was a breakthrough, providing the first model of community buy-in and participatory management for a Marine National Park and heralding a new era of Indonesian marine conservation.

WCS will build on this success to strengthen and expand the MPAs in Aceh. WCS is also working with fishers and the Government of Indonesia on improved fisheries regulations and marine spatial planning that will support the needs of local communities while conserving the biodiversity of the region’s coral reef ecosystems and megafauna populations.

KMF Investment: $210,000

The Blue Project
The Bahamas
The Nature Conservancy, Bahamas National Trust, and BREEF

The Mission
The mission of The Blue Project is to raise awareness of the challenges that coral reefs face and provide funding to help preserve them through scientific, conservation, and educational efforts. Why is this important? Coral reefs are facing a crisis. Over 10% of the world’s reefs have been destroyed and 60% more face the same fate in the next 40 years if action is not taken.

Coral Reef Diversity
Coral reefs are the rainforest of the sea. Even though they only comprise 1% of the ocean’s habitat, they contain the highest diversity of wildlife in the sea including 25% of all marine fishes. They are not only the largest living creature on the Earth, through formation of expansive barrier reefs, but they also provide critical habitat for a myriad of species.

The Threats
So what is endangering our world’s reefs? It is a combination of factors including destructive fishing practices such as dynamiting, pollution, irresponsible development, and global warming.

A Solution
One of the greatest challenges facing marine scientists and conservationists today is finding innovative ways to reverse the rapid decline of coral reef ecosystems around the world. The Blue Project will fund the development of innovative strategies and practices that will help preserve and restore reefs. The initiative is managed by the Kerzner Marine Foundation and is being implemented within The Bahamas via The Nature Conservancy, The Bahamas National Trust, and BREEF, along with the marine aquarist team from Atlantis.

The objectives of the project are to:
  • Provide funding to create coral reef protection and restoration strategies
  • Initiate and fund ongoing reef research
  • Train Bahamians in coral reef research, monitoring, and management techniques
  • Create programs to heighten public awareness of reefs
  • Facilitate the development of reef education programs for communities and schools
KMF Investment: $500,000
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