NEWS

Vanua Levu A Red Zone For Iguanas

  Vanua Levu is now a ‘red light’ zone for giant invasive American iguanas after one was sighted at Matakunea in Viani, Cakaudrove, last month. According to Biosecurity Authority of
28 May 2017 11:00
Vanua Levu A Red Zone For Iguanas
People flocked to have a glimpse of the Giant Invasive Iguana (caged) at the 2017 Northern Agriculture Show in Labasa on 25th May, 2017. Photo: Josaia Ralago

 

Vanua Levu is now a ‘red light’ zone for giant invasive American iguanas after one was sighted at Matakunea in Viani, Cakaudrove, last month.

According to Biosecurity Authority of Fiji giant invasive iguana project officer, Mateo Rakesa, they were still trying to establish how it ended up on Vanua Levu because these were quarantined to three islands close to Taveuni.

“Qamea, Matagi and Laucala are quarantined for this giant invasive iguana and we still do not know how it came to Matakunea, in Viani,” Mr Rakesa said.

He said a week after the iguana was found a team from the Biosecurity Authority attended to nearby communities along the Natewa Bay for awareness purposes.

“There is a red light now in Vanua Levu because of this. And during this awareness, we informed villagers on how to detect if there were giant invasive iguanas in their communities,” Mr Rakesa said.

“These are herbivores, feasting only on leaves, but we are trying to eradicate them because they multiply rapidly.  A female giant invasive iguana can lay 16 to 17 eggs in a year and life expectancy of up to 20 years.

“We also taught them how to approach, capture and eradicate these species.”

Meanwhile, at the 2017 Northern Agriculture show, the presence of such an iguana was one of the main attractions during the event.

Young and old flocked to the Biosecurity tent to get a glimpse of the caged specie which most have only heard off.

Mr Rakesa said the giant invasive iguana was first brought to Qamea in 2000 by an American.

 

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  josaia.ralago@fijisun.com.fj

 

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