As part of the World Wildlife Day, the Ministry of Environment together with relevant stakeholders gathered in Colo-i-Suva Forest Park this morning to celebrate the varied forms of wild fauna and flora and also to raise awareness on their conservation benefits to the environment and people.
World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3rd March every year- the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.
World Wildlife Day is a global event dedicated to wildlife conservation and protection and this years theme; “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation” provides an opportunity to highlight the people who are making a difference as well as to celebrate the bridge that CITES has been for these partnerships to form, making a significant contribution to sustainability, wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
Whilst officiating at the event, Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Honorable Sakiusa Tubuna stated it is vital that Fiji takes a stand and protect its natural environment and resources, including our wildlife from unsustainable trade and protect their habitat from degradation including the impacts of climate change.
“Fiji like other parts of the world is unique in terms of wildlife biodiversity but having this wildlife also comes with responsibility, we need to protect them from abuse and ensure that these wildlife continue to perpetuate in numbers through adequate size and quality of habitat for successive generations of Fijians to continue to appreciate and derive the multiple benefits they provide through their existence.”
“In a snapshot, Fiji boasts the richest avifauna (bird species) in Western Polynesia and is home to endemic living animal treasures. The Collared Lory (Phigys solitaries), Crimson Shining (Prosopeia splendens) parrots and the Orange Dove (Chrysoena victor) are just some of the 25 bird species endemic to Fiji.
“The monkey faced bat is only found in Fiji along with the Fiji Crested (Brachylophus vitiensis) and Banded iguanas (Brachylophus bulabula). Fiji also is home to two amphibians; the Fiji Tree Frog (Platymantis vitiensis) and the Fiji Ground Frog (Platymantis vitianus),” Assistant Minister Tubuna added.
The Fijian Government, through the Department of Environment, administers and enforces the Environment Management act of 2005 which primarily focuses on the protection of natural resources and for the control and management of developments, waste management and pollution control.
The Department of Environment also administers and enforces the Endangered and Protected Species Act 2002 which regulates and control the international trade, domestic trade, possession and transportation of species protected under the Convention on International trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) and for related matters.
The Assistant Minister also reiterated that the World Wildlife Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have a wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
He added “On this World Wildlife Day, let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature”.