Fiji Government commends Wildlife book by USP researchers

From L-R: Mr. Tuiwawa Lead Author & Curator (SPRH, IAS); Dr. Paea (USPs I & RD Coordinator); and Hon. Minister of Forest, Mr Osea Naiqamu. Photo: SUPPLIED/ Fiji Museum

A book entitled “Colo-i-Suva Forest Park Wildlife” compiled by a team of researchers from The University of the South Pacific(USP) was launched by Honourable Osea Naiqamu, Minister of Forests at the Fiji Museum last week.

The book contains records of the presence of several unique plants and animals in the world which can be found at the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park.

Dr Mele Paea, USP’s Innovation & Research Development Coordinator, on behalf of Professor Jito Vanualailai, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, handed over the book to the Honourable Minister for launching.

She emphasised the importance of the role of research in enabling national and regional impactful works in the Pacific, including the launch of such a publication to preserve the environment, natural resources, indigenous knowledge and practices. She stated that USP’s role in this venture was to offer the assistance and support needed for the research activities and reiterated the importance of collaboration and research between the University and its key stakeholders.

“Obviously the University cannot achieve this on its own but it can build on national and regional capabilities for the benefit of all,” she said.

Mr Marika Tuiwawa, Lead Author and Curator of the South Pacific Regional Herbarium at USP commended the Fiji Ministry of Forests and the traditional landowners (Naulukaroa) for their conservation efforts of the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park. He added that the book would not have been possible without the assistance and cooperation of the Forest Rangers at Colo-i-Suva Extension & Parks Division.

The book is about conserving the organisms like plants and animal species, among others, found at Colo-i-Suva Park, better understanding of Fiji’s forest system, and how it can benefit its people and their environment.

In his keynote address, Hon Naiqamu commended the University saying the book was a great achievement for the Ministry as it now has a snapshot view of the flora and fauna that is being conserved and how the conservation of this piece of forest has led to the rich biodiversity that exists within the Forest Park.  

He stated that an informed understanding of the wildlife in our forests and how it benefits us will allow us to live harmoniously together and enjoy each other’s company.

“While the park serves many different purposes, the book will fundamentally serve as a reminder that there is synergy between nature and mankind and that we all have a responsibility to ensure they are sustained for the many generations that have yet to come.

“The book will be a much needed source of environmental and educational awareness for students, members of the public, tourists and researchers,” he added. 

This publication is an outcome of a research project (Documenting the Biota of the Colo-i-Suva Forest park, 2016 – 2018) funded by USP’s internal research funding scheme, Strategic Research Themes, estimated at about $50,000 FJD.

The research team comprised six members: Dr Hilda Waqa-Sakiti (PACE-SD), Marika Tuiwawa (IAS), Senilolia Tuiwawa, Alivereti Naikatini (IAS), Lekima Copeland, and Bindiya Rashni (Visiting researcher, USP Alumni) in partnership with the Fiji Museum, National Trust of Fiji, and Fiji’s Ministry of Forests.

 
 

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