Perfect embodiment of the oceanic paradise, the immense lagoon of Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago reveals itself like a treasure, weaving a living network where the ancient history of the TUPUNA1> merges with the well-kept mysteries of nature. An exceptional ecosystem, where the crystal clear waters shelter the emblematic representatives of French Polynesia: turtles, birds, sharks, and sometimes, majestic whales.
Among the twenty species of sharks that live in the Polynesian waters, half have taken up residence in Rangiroa. The inhabitants of the Tuamotu live in symbiosis with these predators. Guardians of an extraordinary underwater world, sharks give rhythm to life in the lagoon, orchestrating a natural symphony throughout the seasons, lunar cycles and rituals of marine life.
At the heart of this aquatic ballet, the great hammerhead shark, the TAMATAROA or TAUMATAROA depending on the seven different dialects of the Tuamotu, stands out as an essential guardian of the fragile balance. With nearly 4 meters for females, this mysterious predator fascinates with its cephalofoil, a distinctive head which is both a formidable weapon and a natural compass, optimizing its senses and its maneuverability in blue waters. This shark feeds mainly on stingrays and eagle rays but also on other sharks, smaller and more numerous such as gray sharks or broadside sharks. It doesn't attack the man.
The great hammerhead shark, a key player in species regulation and guardian of the Tuamotu passes, including the famous Tiputa pass, maintains marine harmony by regulating shark and ray populations. Its imminent disappearance on a global scale threatens this fragile balance. The insane fin trade has already decimated more than 80% of its population in just 70 years! Its scientific name, Sphyrna mokaran, now resonates as an urgent call for conservation.
Revolted by this predicted tragedy, passionate divers and dedicated biologists gave birth to the Mokarran Protection Society (MPS) in Rangiroa. This NGO, organized into four centers of expertise, works tirelessly to study the population of great hammerhead sharks in French Polynesia and to protect it beyond.
Through an unprecedented scientific program, bringing together different Polynesian, metropolitan and international institutions, the Mokarran Protection Society stands as a bulwark, an intrepid defender of the great hammerhead shark and the marine wealth of Rangiroa, which the first scientific reports confirm is is the most important observation site for this species in the world.
By shedding light on the threats facing this iconic species, it points the way to a future where the TAMATAROA will continue to play its crucial role in the complex web of marine life. In this collective quest to preserve our lagoon, the Mokarran Protection Society embodies hope and action, striving to preserve a marine treasure that transcends the borders of the Tuamotu Archipelago.
1 TUPUNA, term usually designating the ancestors.
Find more information and the ethical and respectful diving charter on www.mokarran.org
You can help us! If you have had the privilege of observing the great hammerhead shark in Polynesia, you can contribute to the advancement of research on this species by sending your images (photos and videos) and diving data to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.