Village headmen and Temporary Biosecurity Officers attend American Iguana surveillance and monitoring training in preparation for another breeding season
A 2 day training was organized by NatureFiji-MareqetiViti and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji in Naivivi village in Qamea that focused on monitoring and surveillance of American iguana nesting areas.
Since its introduction in 2000, the population of the American iguana was estimated to be over 2500 individuals after the last survey by Rick Van Veen in August 2011.
Its numbers continue to grow exponentially and may take 5 years or longer if eradication is to be successful. Rick Van Veen during his survey recommended that continued awareness to communities and the acquisition and training of a skilled team will be critical to the control and eradication of this invasive alien species.
About 30 participants attended the training on the 11th – 12th April and provided participants not only TBOs but Turaga ni Koro’s and Mata ni Tikina’s an opportunity to undergo further training in monitoring and surveillance of breeding and nesting areas. It was also a forum where they were able to discuss and share observations, changes and impacts that have been occurring in their villages since the occupation of the invasive American iguana.
There were a few recommendations from the participants.
One of which was highlighted the most was the need to strengthen collaboration amongst government agencies, NFMV, BAF and tourist operators to control the spread of the American iguana.