More than two hundred participants have registered with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to take part in this Saturday’s Island Chill sponsored Suva Marathon and to create awareness on the protection of coral reefs and unique species found within the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape.

The participants including volunteers, families and youth groups, will be making a notable appearance at the Suva Marathon strongly promoting a message of conservation and the protection of Fiji’s natural resources. Children as young as 3 year old will be accompanying their parents in the Fun Run.

“The idea behind ‘running for the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape’ is for every Fijians to come together and take part in a fun event whilst at the same time collectively creating awareness on a super diverse, nationally important area between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu called the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape,” says WCS Fiji Program Director, Dr Sangeeta Mangubhai.

“Taking part in the Fun Run means that participants are making a personal commitment to become champions and become the voice to promote the protection of sea turtles, humphead wrasse (varivoce), bumphead parrotfish (kalia) and reef sharks, and other species that call Fiji home,” she said.

The Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is also home to pilot and humpback whales, and dolphins. The channel nourishes a magnificent diversity of more than 300 corals and 1000 fish species which in turn, sustain breeding colonies of seabirds.

“These participants, young and old are aware that protecting the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is critical for maintaining our culture and our way of life and we would like every Fijian to be attentive to the course and be part of the campaign to protect the Seascape,” Dr Mangubhai added.

Suva-Ovalau Anglican Youth representative Leo Collin Latianara believes that the youth’s participation in the Suva Marathon and commitment to run for the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is important as Fiji’s youth are key to advocating for the protection of Fiji’s natural resources.

“We always remind ourselves that God has given us this beautiful gift and we ought to care for them and we want every youth in Fiji to support and care for our natural resources and conserve it for our future generation,” he said.

The Corporate Team marathon event will begin at 8am and the Fun Run will begin at 7.30 am. Members of the public can log onto the “Vatu-i-Ra Seascape” Facebook event page for more information.