MAKASSAR, INDONESIA — SHEBA, a Mars pet food brand, has successfully completed the SHEBA Hope Advocate Program, bringing together two Indonesian hosts and five global advocates from the SHEBA Hope Grows Collective, UK, Germany, USA, and Southeast Asia to work on the world’s largest global reef restoration program. The Southeast Asia representative was Alif Kazman, a marine biologist from Malaysia.
Alif and six other advocates concluded their 10-day adventure at the SHEBA Hope Reef located in Bontosua, an island in the Spermonde Archipelago off the coast of Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. They have had the opportunity to work with the local community, receive practical restoration training, and restore an area of coral reef using Reef Stars, the “hero” of the Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System.
“As a young scientist, it was an honor for me to be selected as a SHEBA Hope Advocate to represent Southeast Asia and to have the opportunity to learn more about the unique research program that supports reef restoration. It was eye-opening to see the scale of the SHEBA Hope Reef and its impact on the local community, researchers, and field officers who work together. The experience was once-in-a-lifetime for me, and I am eager to impart knowledge about the importance of marine conservation to my peers and the younger generation,” said Alif.
The SHEBA Hope Advocate Program is part of a global reef restoration movement entitled SHEBA Hope Grows. The program began with the creation of a 46x14m structure spelling the letters H-O-P-E in Bontosua in 2019, using restored coral. What was once a barren and lifeless underwater landscape, is now a thriving coral reef ecosystem with coral growth increasing from 2% to 70%, fish populations increasing by 260% as well as a 64% rise in the number of fish species. By 2029, SHEBA aims to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs, roughly the size of 148 Olympic swimming pools, at key sites around the world.
“We are thrilled to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the seven advocates to take part in the world’s largest coral reef restoration program first-hand. The SHEBA brand is a proud part of the Mars family, driven by our purpose to create a better world for pets. It’s more than simply a cat food company; its global movement Hope Grows is inspiring change. It is now more important than ever to take further action to protect the environment, our climate, and local communities. Our program demonstrates how Hope can flourish even in the most trying situations by sharing knowledge and working together to protect and restore critically threatened ecosystems,” stated Dr. Susan Wan, General Manager at Mars Petcare Indonesia.
“The SHEBA Hope Advocate Program has received immeasurably positive responses from around the globe. With over 250 applications from the US, UK, Germany, and Southeast Asia, including more than 50 applications from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, we are thrilled with the final seven advocates who were selected based on their passion for ocean conservation. The impact of the work that the Advocates are doing is critical in preserving and restoring the beauty of our ocean and ensuring our future has fish. The program is a collective of long-lasting and meaningful partnerships that are expanding impact far beyond the coral reefs SHEBA are directly restoring – including on the local communities, tourism, and education in Indonesia” said Philippa Mansell, Indonesia Marine Program Lead at Mars Sustainable Solutions.
In conjunction with the SHEBA Hope Advocate program, the SHEBA brand is also collaborating with selected retailers in the Philippines to collect donations which will be used to create Reef Stars to be planted in the iconic SHEBA Hope Reef in Bontosua Island, Makassar, Sulawesi Indonesia. For every purchase of any SHEBA product in Lazada Philippines (Pedigree and Whiskas Flagship Store), 5% of the purchase value will be donated to the coral reef restoration in the SHEBA Hope Reef.
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SHEBA’s sustainability efforts are supported by its parent company Mars, Incorporated, and its efforts to protect our planet. Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan illustrates the Mars mission to build the world we want tomorrow, today.