Forest park rangers commended for their hard work

Minister for Forest, Osea Naiqamu with guests and ministry staff members during the launch of the book “Colo-i-Suva Forest Park Wildlife" at the Fiji Museum in Suva on Wdnesday, June 05, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

COLO-I-SUVA Forest Park rangers have been commended for their hard work in looking after the birds, plants, trees and other wildlife species that thrive there.

However, more significant was the role these rangers played in assisting wildlife researchers and scientists from the University of the South Pacific (USP) that were gathering information which was published in the book titled Colo-i-Suva Forest Park Wildlife.

The book was launched last week at the Fiji Museum and contains records of the presence of several world’s unique plants and animals which can be found at the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park.

University of the South Pacific Institute of Applied Sciences curator and co-author Marika Tuiwawa said the book would not have been possible without the assistance and co-operation of the forest rangers at Colo-i-Suva.

Ministry of Forestry park rangers Waisea Tawake and Suliasi Raibevu said working at Colo-i-Suva Forest Park may sound like having a good time to some but for them it was a lot of work and sacrifice.

“Our work involves keeping the forest park clean from the ground you walk on or the pool you swim in up to the trees that grow within the forest park. Not only that, we have to also ensure that the different types of wildlife species — whether it be fishes or birds and even butterflies — are protected as well as their different habitats,” Mr Raibevu said.

He said most importantly they also had to keep visitors at the forest park safe and free from harm.

“We have to ensure visitors are safe when they come to the park either to swim or sightseeing.”

Mr Raibevu said his line of work also had its fair share of challenges.

“Not all visitors are peaceful families; criminals sometimes seek refuge in the forest park to escape from the authorities or to commit criminal activities.

“Forest park rangers face assault when they attempt to subdue a suspect or investigate a suspicious vehicle or requesting visitors to reduce noise levels.”

Mr Raibevu added visitors may also be armed with knives or other weapons.

“I think what keep us going is our love for nature and the outdoors. I love my job and I have been doing it for the past five years. I believe that if you love your job, you will enjoy it because it is something you do every day,” he said.

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