Nunia Thomas, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s Conservation Co-ordinator has been appointed Director, taking charge of Fiji’s most progressive local conservation organisation. She takes charge of a staff of 10 project officers with responsibility for 12 on-going projects. Her first challenge will be to oversee the merger of the BirdLife International Fiji Program with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s domestic program.
“Nunia was NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s first recruit, five years ago and she has developed into a dedicated and passionate conservation professional. She brought to NatureFiji-MareqetiViti advanced technical expertise as a field-oriented biologist and has rapidly developed the administrative, people and community skills so important for a conservation professional,” noted Dick Watling, one of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s Founding Trustees. “We are especially delighted that we have been able to promote from within the organisation,” he added.
Nunia read Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of the South Pacific, before going on to complete her Master of Science at the University’s Institute of Applied Science. The subject of her thesis was Fiji’s little-known endemic ground frog, one of the two currently threatened endemic frogs, requiring active conservation management. As Fiji’s foremost herpetologist, Nunia was appointed to assist the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji with advice on the biological and community aspects of the eradication of the American Iguana. Her current responsibilities will see her taking charge of projects working on some of Fiji’s most endangered and iconic species including the Fiji Petrel, the Fiji Sago Palm, the Red-throated Lorikeet and the Fiji Flying Fox.