MES and Mana Island Resort and Spa work closely in the upkeep of the Mana Turtle Recovery pond. What began as a head start program, the Mana turtle pond in the past years have some very successful stories of turtles saved from the wild, a stint at the recovery pond, and later on released back into the wild. Apart from attracting visitors, the programme attempts to maximise survival rates and aims to assist in bringing back the turtle population in Fiji. The Mana Turtle Recovery Pond serves as a hospital for injured, sick and weak hatchlings and juveniles which are later tagged and released into the wild. The society in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and the Marine Resources at the University of the South Pacific here in Fiji are working together to see that best practices for such a programme are developed.
With that, MES continues with monitoring of the turtles to help in data collection to develop best practices towards the conservation and sustainable management of Fiji’s marine turtles. The pond now has 3 juvenile turtles and 33 hatchlings. Out of 33 hatchlings, 4 were just found earlier in June in front of Vonu Bar on Mana Island. Ilisapeci, Turtle Project Officer designated monitoring of these turtles to be monitored twice in a month. On the 30th of June, another monitoring of turtles was conducted where turtles were monitored on their, health and their diet. Naivaka a hatchling found washed up on Malolo beach in February at just 3cm carapace length has now grown to 8cm. Out of the 3 juveniles in the pond, two are big enough to be tagged and released back into the wild.
All measurements recorded will be entered in the Turtle Research and Monitory Database Tool (TRED) which is monitored by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) of which the society is a member.
MES hopes to strive and adopt better monitoring guidelines from other conservation organizations in the region to advance turtle conservation.