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Conserving Macca

French travel firm Ponant has allocated funding to support a three-year conservation project on Macquarie Island in the Pacific – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and vital habitat for global wildlife.

22 February 2024

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Luxury cruise operator Ponant has announced its first funding allocation by the Ponant Foundation to support a project in the Australasian region: a three-year partnership with the Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation.

Established in 2018, the Ponant Foundation aims to preserve the oceans and polar regions by supporting projects focusing on research, awareness-raising and conservation of the regions visited on its small-ship itineraries.

The Ponant Foundation has pledged an annual grant to the Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation as a major supporter of its science and research initiatives aimed at understanding the impact of climate change on Macquarie Island and ecosystem recovery post-pest eradication.

Macquarie Island is an island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

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“We’re thrilled to share this three-year partnership activation with the Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation, aligning with the Ponant Foundation’s commitment to protecting the poles and our oceans, a key pillar of utilising a partnership approach,” says Deb Corbett, General Manager of Sales and Marketing in Asia Pacific.

“We’re proud to have the capacity to contribute to their vital research and initiatives in the region and can’t wait to see what can be achieved in the next three years and beyond.”

Started in July 2023 and due to extend until June 2026, the project supports the mission of the Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation, ensuring the natural and heritage values of Macquarie Island remain protected from threats and conserved for current and future generations.

The foundation aims to fund and facilitate science and research programs, as well as provide supplementary support to management initiatives, student projects and outreach activities that will benefit the conservation of Macquarie Island.

“Macquarie Island has long been celebrated as one of the wonder spots of the world, home to more than 3.5 million breeding seabirds and more than one-seventh of the world’s population of elephant seals,” says Mick Fogg, Director of Expeditions and Destination Development at Ponant for Asia Pacific.

“Despite the abundance of wildlife, the island was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 because of its unique geology, being the only island in the world composed entirely of oceanic crust and rocks from the mantle.

“Macca, as it’s known, leaves a lasting impression on all travellers who are lucky enough to visit, and Ponant has been taking guests to this remarkable location since the 2014/2015 season,” adds Fogg.

“The Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation was launched in early 2023 with a vision to ensure the natural and heritage values of Macquarie Island remain protected for current and future generations. Recognising the value of such an initiative, Ponant is proud to be the major supporter of the foundation.”

The Director of Macquarie Island Conservation Foundation, Dr Ben Arthur, says: “The foundation is absolutely delighted to have the support of Ponant, which has strong links to Macquarie Island and its globally unique environment. Ponant’s commitment will help us protect this precious sub-Antarctic ecosystem, connect, and inspire people, and directly support conservation and research to benefit this remarkable place.”

The French-flagged Ponant fleet comprises 13 small ships equipped with modern, environmentally friendly equipment. The fleet includes Le Ponant, a three-masted yacht with 16 cabins, and Le Commandant Charcot, the firm’s first electric hybrid polar expedition vessel.

 

ponant.com
macquarieisland.org

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