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22-09 FDC 20 years of the cetacean sanctuary
Polynesia is, since May 13, 2002, one of the largest sanctuaries dedicated to the protection of
cetaceans. It represents an ocean surface of 5.5 million square kilometers of its Exclusive Economic
Zone (EEZ), protecting many species of whales and dolphins, but also a wide biological diversity.

Also part of this environmental sanctuary, the dozen species of dolphins of French Polynesia are also protected. The most common dolphin in Tahiti is the long-snouted dolphin (Stenella longirostris). With a length of 2.4 to 2.7 meters, weighing up to 130 kilos, it is recognizable by the long stripe along its flans.

These dolphins are present all year round along the coasts and can live in groups of several tens
of individuals. They can be observed in the islands of the Society but also in the north of the Tuamotu and the Marquesas Islands. They also called dolphin spinner because they are able to make convertibles more than 3 meters above the water.

The most representative of this species, the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae (tohorâ in
tahitian language) makes long migrations between Antarctica and our warm waters. This whale
recognized by its very long pectoral fins (1/3 of the size of its body) measures between 15 and 18
meters and can weigh 45 tons.

Polynesia is the privileged place for reproduction, giving birth to baby whales that can measure more than 4.50 meters. Sheltered in our waters, they take more than 100 kg a day thanks to their mother’s
high-fat breastfeeding.

Fenua offers calves, from July to October, the best possible conditions during the first months of their lives. The only threat remains human activity, which is why whale watching is subject to strict local regulations.

Fare Rata, the Polynesian Post office is proud to be able to contribute, through this philatelic issue, to this effort to preserve our cetaceans.


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