Mission Blue is excited to partner with Te Mana o Te Moana! Veterinarian Dr. Cécile Gaspar founded Te Mana o Te Moana – meaning spirit of the oceans – in 2004 to preserve our marine environment for future generations through three key actions: Conservation, Education and Research. For over ten years now, this Tahitian nonprofit has developed actions and programs in these three fields throughout French Polynesia. Coral reefs, sea turtles, marine mammals and sustainable practices are some of Te Mana o Te Moana’s main priorities, but it is constantly looking to develop its actions in any field that can have an impact on the health of our planet. The foundation also works with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Reef Check – two other Mission Blue partners.
Te Mana o Te Moana implements programs for the protection and monitoring of marine wildlife including cetaceans, turtles, fish and corals. With this mission, the foundation manages the Sea Turtle Clinic at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa on the island of Moorea near Tahiti. More than 145 marine turtles have been released into the wild and over ten have been equipped with satellite tags in order to get more information about the migration of those emblematic species. More than 350 injured turtles have been welcomed at the Sea Turtle Clinic of Moorea, with 135 released into the wild. The foundation has also established two observatories, gathered eight tons of marine debris during over 30 campaigns, and created six coral gardens and underwater trails in the region.
Te Mana o Te Moana promotes environmental awareness for the public, for local populations and especially for children through school programs and communication materials aimed at giving a better understanding of the local natural heritage and its fragile balance. The foundation has developed more than 40 educational tools to raise local awareness and has reached over 56,000 French Polynesian children in the past ten years.
In collaboration with other universities and associations including the Tetiaroa Society, another Mission Blue partner, Te Mana o Te Moana is involved in studies and research projects pertaining to Polynesian marine wildlife and island ecosystems. During surveys on the Tetiaroa atoll about 30 miles north of Tahiti, researchers have collected mountains of data including 1,200 sea turtle tracks, satellite data from 11 tagged sea turtles, and 900 cetacean observations. These findings have confirmed a migration route for female green sea turtles from the region to Fiji, where they seem to go to feed. The endangered loggerhead turtle is also present in the region, and Te Mana o Te Moana researchers have tracked one individual, nicknamed Ariti, extensively throughout the Pacific for over a year.
“Come and join our network and our observatories, help us and support our actions so that together we can believe in the future… lets work in harmony to help the ocean remain an unlimited resource, essential for maintaining long-lasting, fertile, beautiful and diverse Life on Earth so indispensable to our future.” – Te Mana o Te Moana President Dr. Cécile Gaspar
Learn more about the foundation here: www.temanaotemoana.org