Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa held its first Sanctuary volunteer event for 2014, on World Wetlands Day on Monday 3rd February. Twenty nine volunteers led by Marine Manager, Ms Mereoni Mataika, planted over 100 mangrove seedlings to mark the day and continue the restoration work on the mangroves surround Yanuca Island – home to the resort. To date close to 2,000 seedlings have been planted on the mangrove flats around Yanuca Island.
“As 2014 is the United Nations International Year of Family Farming it is so timely that RAMSAR has chosen the theme Wetlands and Agriculture as the theme for World Wetlands Day,” said Marine Manager Ms Mereoni Mataika.
“In advocating for our marine environment we always remind visitors to our resort how all our ecosystems are connected and the importance of looking after our mangroves in order to keep our oceans healthy. “Quite often our wetlands are have been seen as a barrier to agriculture and development and they continue to be reclaimed to make the land available. “However our communities are becoming more aware of the essential role of wetlands in support of agriculture,” Ms Mataika said.
“We continually advocate for the environment not only for our colleagues to fulfill their volunteer hours but we also raise awareness with them so they may gain a deeper appreciation of our natural environment and how important it is to sustain life on our planet.”
The RAMSAR Convention is the only global environmental treaty that focuses on a specific ecosystem and was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. The Convention on Wetlands came into force in Fiji on 11 August 2006 and there is currently one site designated as a wetland of international importance with a surface area of 615 hectares, in the Upper Navua Conservation Area.