“Seing from space how the ocean plays a vital role in supporting life on our planet, i am happy to support conservation, research and education efforts from the organization “Te mana o te Moana”, based in Moorea in French Polynesia, wich I hope I will be able to visit shortly. Congratulations to Papehau for her first place with the tale “Mana’s wish” wich came along with me for this mission at the International Space Station”
As a reminder, in 2016, Temana o te Moana launched a Gret tale production contest with sea turtle protection and the ocean for theme.The winning production has become a spacial tale, as it was brought along into space to be read by the astronaut Thomas Pesquet, from the European Space Agency (ESA) inside the International Space Station. Thomas pesquet flew to the international Space Sation for a 6 months mission called Proxima. He was the 10th french astronaut to fly into space. He is participating in the Expedition 50, a mission undertaken by the European Spacial Agency, which started in november 2016 and ended in may 2017. During this time, he accepted to support Te mana o te moana’s project by taking along with him a polynesian message of hope… a tale called “Mana’s wish”… so that the slogan “from Ocean to Space, let’s preserve our blue planet” sound in our heads !
Do not wait to rediscover the winning tale “Le voeu de Mana”
As part of their degree program in ecology (marine ecosystems modules, coordinated by Prof. Nabila Gaertner-Mazouni), students from the University of French Polynesia enrolled in a 3 years biology licence, benefited from a Reefcheck training program. Reef Check Polynésie, coordinated by our non-profit organization Te mana o te moana, aims at involving motivated volunteers in Reefcheck monitoring program, as coral reef ecosystems are rich and vital for many insular populations and consist of a biodiversity hotspot. The collected data is then sent to Reef Check International and serves as a base both for scientific programs and for better management of marine areas. Students participated to both practical and theorical sessions animated by the marine biologist Matthieu Petit, which aimed at providing to the students all the necessary tools to be able to evaluate coral reefs health status and to participate to the census of many fish and invertebrate species.
They swam through Punaauia’s lagoon to count for butterfly fish, groupers or clams, note for bleaching events and mesure the coral cover. At the end of their training, the students have been certified Reef Check Ecodiver IndoPacifique, an internationally recognized certification. Thanks to this certification, they will be able to stay involved in the polynesian reefcheck network to contribute for a better understanding of coral reefs in French Polynesia.
This original initiative in Polynesia was made possible thanks to a partnership with the University of French Polynesia, our non profit organisation Te mana o te moana, Reef Check France and Reef Check International.
Inspired by a feeding method from the Sea Turtle Hospital in Florida, the organisation has built new « drawning feeders » for our sea turtles in rehabilitation without having to be in contact with them. These feeders were made from plastic fence to be able to fix the food (fish, squid, salad…) and some weights to make them sink.
Two shapes were tested : a tube-shaped feeder and a square-shaped feeder. A small rope attached to the feeders allows us to set up the feeder and to remove it when the feeder is empty without having to go in the water.
This new method will be used to complement our actual feeding method that consists of throwing food items in the rehabilitation lagoon from the bridge to limit human interactions and to better prepare them for the wild. As we observed that our turtles were wandering at the bottom of the lagoon looking for small algaes to eat, we were curious to have them try the new feeders. This method also allows us to eliminate the issue of the birds try to catch sea turtle food at the surface.
Aina, Fatu, Bob and Luce, young turtles saved from bottom of nests during the nesting monitoring in Tetiaroa last year, particularly appreciated the new feeders !
On the 15th of September 2008, Moorea’s lagoon and one of its lake (called Temea’s lake) became classified as wetlands of world interest as part of the RAMSAR convention of the UNESCO. This distinction has rewarded conservation efforts undertaken by Moorea’s municipality with the setting up of marine protected areas (PGEM – Plan de Gestion de l’Espace Maritime (PGEM)).
On Thrusday February the 2nd, the municipality of Moorea-Maiao has invited more than 450 students from Moorea to celebrate World Wetlands Day. The event took place on the public beach of Temae (Toatea), and the theme of the day was « Wetlands, for the preservation of natural disasters ». The message communicated through this event was :
“Our actions have impacts, together, let’s act eco responsible !”
A strong message that should allow us to reach several objectives :
– a growing awareness of the impacts caused by humans on wetlands, and therefore on the entire environment,
– a growing awareness on the benefits of wetlands for humans ;
– the promotion and valorisation of the initiatives and actions in favor of our environment,
– and finally, the training, implication and information of students, who will be up for actions as the next generation.
In order to sensitize the public and the youngest at its cause, Te mana o te moana was present with a booth in its effigy.
Alice, our marine biologist, along with our volunteers, Sylvie, Céline and Virginie, have welcomed and sensitized more than 350 elementary school students and around a 100 highschool students to the roles and importance of wetlands for endangered marine wildlife and ecosystems such as sea turtles, marine mammals and coral reefs. Educational games, created by our organisation, were also available so that everyone could learn while having fun.
Moreover, this day happened at the same time as a shooting for a documentary called « A season in Tahiti » (« Une saison à Tahiti »), for which our organisation had been on for a few days, for the documentary. This documentary is a sort of TV reality show quite famous in France, in which the life of the zoo is filmed daily and presented on national chanels. A couple years ago, the team from the Zoo and their film crew are documenting the wild world, and it is as part of this new program that our organisation have been sollicitated and got involved in the project. All activities of our organisation, including our participation to the World Wetlands Day, have been filmed. It is a perfect occasion to shed light on this important event, and to sensitize the public on wetlands conservation. The documentary will be broadcasted on a national channel of French television (France 4), and we will keep you updated of the day of broadcast (it should be some time in October).