New Caledonia
Activity Report from New Caledonia Vol.07 (2019 April - June)
from Thomas Auger (CI New Caledonia)

Project Update-Manta fieldwork is
on the right track!

Coping with capricious wind, the second semester of 2019 was dedicated to field operations and communication as planned. This is very reassuring and promising for the next steps in Manta conservation in New Caledonia.

Last 3-month activities:
Genetic sampling on the way to be wrapped up just on time!

Regarding the bad weather faced since the begging of the year, very few fieldtrips were able to be done. With a strong wind established around New Caledonia, it has been complicated to get genetic samplings moving forward as going on site could be dangerous regarding sea conditions. In order to produce reliable genetic results, Hugo must gather 20 to 25 samplings per site for his PhD before leaving for Auckland to lead the analysis on the 15th of August.

In April, one day out of ten was carried out in Noumea with only 5 samplings achieved and no other sites could be sampled.

In May, three day out of eight in Noumea with 8 new samples. For Ouvea and Touho thing were a little better with respectively 13 and 7 samples per site collected in 13 days.

As it is always good to persevere when everything is not going as planned, the month of June was rewarding with calm weather and the presence of Mantas! In only a few days the sampling was finished in Touho with a total of 23 manta sampled and 24 in Noumea.

Photo identification in progress.

This part of the PhD field work is still ongoing with the great support of volunteer that take pictures of the Mantas’ belly and report them via the Initiative Manta Facebook page. In the past three months 18 new Manta individuals where identified out of the 64 photo ID messages sent by followers regardless the bad weather! This bringing the total to 334 known individuals around New-Caledonia.

The Manta Initiative still needs your support so do not hesitate to visit our Facebook page if you want to know more about our Manta and if you have the chance to dive around New Caledonia and make some pictures of Manta, please post them!

Initiative Manta en Nouvelle-Calédonie

New Caledonia Manta Initiative at the World Ocean Day!

On the 8th of June was held the World Ocean Day on Duck Islet in Noumea.

The Manta Initiative held a stand on Manta conservation. Throughout the day it was not less than 300 people that came to visit us. This event was great for sharing and rising awareness to the multigeneration participants that ran the rally Oceans game.

To win the rally an answer had to be found at each stand. The Initiative Manta Quiz was on Hugo’s worldwide discovery done through his PhD. The deepest dive ever recorded at over 672 meters deep!

Hugo on air for the Manta Initiative!

On the 4th of June, Hugo was the guest of Terre Passion on Nouvelle Calédonie 1ère radio. This show raises nature conservation awareness. During 45 minutes of live on-air radio interview, Hugo explained mantas ecology and his work to learn more about them.

This interview can be listened at the below link using the date to find the right interview.

Please notice that it is in French.

Next 3-month activities

In July, our team will keep concentrating on the fieldwork with additional operations in Ouvea to finalize the genetic sampling.
Communication will continue with Hugo being at the Ecocitizen Day in Touho on the 7th and 8th of August.
Hugo will be flying to New Zealand to lead his genetic analysis in association with the University of Auckland for the next 6 months.
Thanks for your support!