Saving endangered coral
The Hilton Moorea is a stunning place to stay with its 104 thatched-roof garden and overwater bungalows and 10 acres of lagoon teeming with tropical fish. A white sandy beach rims the resort like salt around your margarita glass and lush tropical gardens make you realise where impressionist painter Paul Gaugin got so much of his inspiration. There is also an infinity pool if salty skin is not your thing.
But more than being a gorgeous resort to escape and relax in your own personal haven, a major draw to the Hilton Moorea is their emphasis on saving this beautiful environment and protecting endangered species.
Alarmingly in the next 20 years if nothing is done a quarter of all coral worldwide will be dead. The Hilton has joined Biorock, a project of growing baby coral and transplanting it onto the reef to regenerate dead corals and attract the colourful tropical fish that used to feed here but have disappeared when their food source did. In two years the Hilton has transplanted 2000 baby corals.
Rescuing sea turtles
You’ll also find a turtle sanctuary here. These magnificent sea turtles are endangered by poachers and many of the larger ones are here recovering from spear-gun wounds. Babies are also reared and released when they get to be about the size of a dinner plate, thus giving them more of a chance at survival. But what it really comes down to for the long term survival of the green sea turtle is education. Programmes are now run in schools to teach children about the risk to the turtle if they continue to be caught for food, in the hopes that when they grow up, they will have a better understanding.
TVNZs Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver was at the Hilton Moorea recently and produced this short video clip so you can see the Hilton Moorea and its environmental programmes. Jump here to see Barbara’s story.