Maui News

Maui Ocean Center to Showcase Coral and Turtle Conservation at IUCN

August 24, 2016, 2:37 AM HST
* Updated August 24, 2:40 AM
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Maui Ocean Center. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Ocean Center. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2016, the Maui Ocean Center will present its past, present, and future efforts towards marine life conservation and education to a global audience at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

IUCN is the world’s largest conservation event, bringing together a community of government leaders and indigenous peoples to discuss solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.  For the first time in its 60-year history, IUCN will be held in the United States.

The Maui Ocean Center will host an official booth at IUCN to feature its work in coral restoration, turtle conservation and education, while sharing the cultural heritage of the Hawaiian people and their relationship with the land and sea.

Maui Ocean Center will present its long-standing success and expertise in rehabilitating and maintaining Hawaiian corals. The Aquarium not only houses the world’s largest collection of live Pacific corals, it’s also an active participant in coral reef restoration and research efforts.

Through state partnerships with the Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, and federal partnership with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Maui Ocean Center has rehabilitated and transplanted nearly 700 corals back onto Hawaiʻi’s reefs, resulting in the mitigation of coral loss from natural disasters and infrastructure repairs at harbors.

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Maui Ocean Center’s wet lab is one of the few facilities in Hawaiʻi that can successfully house corals and is often used by guest scientists, research organizations, and state agencies to conduct scientific research.

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The Aquarium will also highlight its conservation work with endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles. In partnership with Sea Life Park Hawaiʻi, Maui Ocean Center has raised and released 66 Hawaiian green sea turtles over the past 18 years.

Program administrators say the educational program has helped raise awareness of Hawaiʻi’s endangered sea turtles while providing the hatchlings with a safe environment in which to grow until they are released to the open sea.

Maui Ocean Center is one of the few Aquariums in the world that integrates Hawaiian culture into the care of their animals and educational resources. Daily cultural demonstrations will take place at the booth conducted by Kekai Kapu and guest cultural practitioners: Thomas Koʻi Lum Jr. (native and endemic plant consultant), Namea Hashino (Maui Nui Botanical Garden), and Alyson Napua Barrows (Waiheʻe Limu Restoration).

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IUCN will take place from September 1-10, and will be open to the public between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Attendees are invited to meet the Aquarium staff and cultural practitioners, and enjoy booth activities including microscopic coral viewing and cultural demonstrations.

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