Sri Lanka’s coral reefs have long been attracting tourists from around the world.
In and around the waters of Hikkaduwa, specifically, these coral reefs are part of the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary.
But, there is trouble in paradise.
Most of the coral here have waved goodbye. The coral reefs were bleached in 1998, with the other impacts in the Indian Ocean, due to the El Niño effect.
Unknown to many, coral reefs are not abiotic structures but clusters of thousands of tiny sea animals called polyps. They’re alive, always growing and changing and evolving. In doing so, they become hotbeds of biodiversity, providing a home for at least 25 percent of all marine species, even though they occupy less than 0.1 percent of the world’s ocean surface. But coral reefs, just like any living being, are susceptible to death if they aren’t properly cared for or if they are constantly under threat. And in the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary, that is exactly what’s happening.
Photo credit @sunvisionpro