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25,000 plants specimens to return

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PS, Dr Vaeno Vigulu browses through some of the 25000 specimens at the South Pacific Regional Herbarium in Suva, Fiji.
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After decades of safe keeping under the University of South Pacific (USP) Herbarium at the Pacific Herbarium in Suva, Fiji, more than twenty-five thousand plant specimens belonging to Solomon Islands will return home soon.

Negotiations and arrangements have been made possible with a team led by the Forestry Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu and staff at the National Herbarium and Botanical Garden, Ministry of Forestry and Research’s trip to Fiji recently. Forestry Secretary, Dr Vigulu explains that the plant specimens have been relocated to Suva during the peak of the ethnic tension we have experience decades ago.

“It is very important that such valuable specimens are kept safe, that is the very reason those specimens were relocated to Fiji.

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“Now it is essential that we bring them home, as they are very important to us in many ways especially in keeping accurate track record of our flora and fauna.”

The Forestry Secretary emphasized that it is also very important that these specimens be returned so we can verify and use them as reference to, by any recent studies or research being carried in our country. So far consultations done has been forthcoming and staff at the University of South Pacific Herbarium at the Lower Campus are understandable and has agreed on giving back those specimens to us, he said.

“It will not be an easy task getting them back. There are lots of work that needs to be done as preparatory work prior to moving them back to the Solomon Islands. “Handling with care is very essential as they may get damage, so we have also agreed on training of our herbarium staff on this regard, making sure we have the capacity to handle them ourselves when they are being shipped into the country. This includes preparatory of its storage here,” explains Dr Vigulu.

Dr Vigulu adds it will take some time for these arrangements to take effect as planned, and the schedule is to be any time before June 2023. He stresses that this is one of the priorities under the redirection policy of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) and so far its implementation is processing very well. – MoFR Press

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