NFMV begins awareness on the American iguana, Iguana iguana

With support from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund.

A NFMV team has begun an awareness campaign on the American iguana (Iguana iguana) in the Cakaudrove province.

With the aid of the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund and additional support of the Cakaudrove provincial office, National Trust of Fiji and the Fiji police force (Taveuni), the NFMV team (led by Waisale Mataitoga of Somosomo village) conducted their first village level awareness in the village of Dreketi, Qamea island on Monday 12th July 2010.

NFMV is conducting this awareness campaign on behalf of the government established American iguana eradication campaign task force.

The American iguana is an introduced reptile that is known to become an invasive species with high economic costs in other countries into which it has been introduced. In these countries, the tourism industry has suffered the most.

This introduced iguana also has potential to have a negative impact on our native iguanas, particularly the newly described endemic Brachlyophus bulabula which also occurs on Taveuni and its neighbouring islands.

The objectives of the awareness campaign are:

(i) to inform local villagers, hotel workers and transportation personnel of the negative impacts that the American iguana poses for Taveuni and neighbouring islands,
(ii) the implications of breaking the government gazetted biosecurity promulgation on Taveuni and neighbouring islands and thereby stop the illegal transporting of iguanas between islands;
(iii)key physical features to identify in differentiating between the American iguana and the Viti banded iguana; and to
(iv) establish a system of reporting all sightings of the American iguana for future eradication and control work.

The awareness team will be covering Qamea island this week, and move onto Taveuni next week. The awareness campaigns will continue until July 29th.

For any further queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us on (679) 3100 598 or contact us.