After 3½ years as the Fiji Petrel Project Manager, Eleazar O’Connor is leaving NatureFiji-MareqetiViti. We wish him the very best in his new endeavour.
Two foundation projects which have been running continuously since NFMV’s establishment in 2007 have personified the organisation’s work mode and mission – they are the Fiji Petrel Project and the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of the Fiji Sago Palm Project.
Finding the nests of the Fiji Petrel is an incredibly difficult challenge and for the past 3½ years, Eli (Eleazar) O’Connor has devoted himself to this goal and to develop enthusiasm and dedication to the conservation of the Fiji Petrel among the communities of Gau Island. Eli has decided that it’s time for pastures new and left NFMV at the end of his contract.
Nobody will be more sad to see Eli go, than Bob. Bob has been Eli’s constant companion for the past 1½ years. Bob is a mongrel from New Zealand, but a specially trained petrel-detector dog. Eli went to NZ to train with him and thereafter the two of them made a very fine team on Gau. Eli set an extremely high standard on Gau both in his personal conduct and his work ethic. Eli pursued the NFMV vision of training community members on Gau to be able to undertake all the basic conservation management activities which are required now to conserve Collared Petrels but which will be even more important when the nests of the Fiji Petrel are found.
NFMV is extremely grateful to Eli, he worked with great dedication in what is an extremely difficult job. Combing the forested hills of Gau, often in the rain, always on steep slopes and thick vegetation is difficult enough but it is the lack of immediate reward for the hard work which saps the soul.
Eli will be hard to replace but his deputy Poasa Qalo from Nukuloa, Gau has stepped up to take charge and NFMV will be seeking another handler for Bob in the near future.