by Nancy Papathanasopoulou
Sea enthusiasts are in for a treat with the new Kuwait Sea Base App for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. A fun and educational app, Kuwait Sea Base is for anyone interested in exploring the underwater world of the Kuwaiti and Arabian Gulf coast line. Providing a visually appealing, and real understanding of the wealth of invaluable species that live down below, younger generations become more enlightened about a heritage in need of preservation and respect.
Sponsored by TOTAL Foundation and TOTAL Kuwait and supported by The Voluntary Work Center, The Scientific Center and the Kuwaiti Coast Guard, the Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project (KTCP) studied sea turtles and their habitat in the southern Kuwaiti sea and islets Qaru and Umm Al-Maradim constantly for three years (2008-2011). Sea turtles are rare in Kuwait, especially Green turtles, whose nesting grounds disappeared after the construction works in Umm Al-Maradim. As they are probably trying to adapt to the modifications in their ecosystem, they roam the northern Arabian Gulf, endangered and vulnerable, as they do in most other seas of the planet.
KTCP tried to study and understand sea turtle populations in Kuwait. International experts and Kuwaiti volunteers were part of this effort, the first ever of its kind in the country. Apart from its other deliverables, such as a general management plan proposal for the Kubbar-Qaru-Umm Al-Maradim Protected Area, a turtle exhibit at the Aquarium of the Scientific Center, an ebook named The Soul of Kuwaiti Turtles (download it in ePub or PDF form at www.pinaki.info/books-soul.htm) and other environmental education materials, KTCP also produced an extensive database of turtles, fish, invertebrates, corals and sea mammals.
Without any additional funds when the project was completed, some members of the project decided to put together an iPhone App using part of that data, in order for it to profit all sea enthusiasts who have access to the iPhone/iPad and iPod Touch and want an easy-to-use identification guide not just for the Kuwaiti Sea but also for the whole northern Arabian Gulf, to which the species mentioned in the App are all too common. 90% of the photography was taken in Kuwait and many Kuwaiti and International photographers, credited for their photos, contributed their work to KTCP, and the iPhone app. Developed by US software developing company Science Seals LLC, the development team decided to pursue the project as part of their social responsibility program after visiting the islands of Qaru and Umm Al-Maradim last year. Impressed by the beauty of the islands, Kuwait Sea Base was a vision that became a reality.
After an introductory welcome screen, the user is invited to browse through a comprehensive list of 203 marine species, including fish, sharks, rays and turtles. Four search options are available for the user to locate a certain species: Common name, Scientific Name, Family, and a photo gallery, including thumbnails of the species where photos are available. By simply clicking on a thumbnail, then on “more”, the user is granted concise information about a certain fish. Sharing is made possible by clicking on the “Email” option at the top right of the screen.
The sea of Kuwait is beautiful, rich, diverse and awaiting respect. This respect can only be achieved through knowledge of its natural heritage. So take the plunge and explore Kuwait’s underwater wealth!
You can download the Kuwait Sea Base App for free at the App Store.