NFMV holds a 3 day workshop on feral pig control for Gau villagers.
The upland forests of Gau are the only known nesting grounds of the critically endangered Fiji Petrel (Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi), of which an estimated 50 breeding pairs survive.
Feral pigs have only become established in Gau’s forests in the last decade and Gau islanders have no traditional knowledge of hunting or snaring them.
Pigs can be devastating predators of nesting petrels and so they are a very significant new threat to the Fiji Petrel.
Experienced pig hunter demonstrating snare techniques to Gau villagers
In an effort to address this threat; NatureFiji-MareqetiViti as Species
Guardian of the Fiji Petrel with funding from the BirdLife International
Community Conservation Fund organised a three day pig workshop in
August 2010 to introduce the technique of snaring feral pigs to Gau
This was considered to be the simplest and most appropriate method which could be taught to the villagers with relative ease.
Representatives from all 16 villages of Gau were invited and were taught by two pig snare experts from the islands of Vanua Levu and Ovalau.
Initially, the attendees learned of the importance of biodiversity and conservation in order to put the pig snare workshop into a conservation perspective.
Safety issues were stressed but most of the workshop was focused on the finer methods of constructing noose snares.
During the workshop participants checked snares that had previously been set by the pig snare experts along the Nukuloa – Levuka ridge and set 25 snares of their own.
The attendees were provided with snare making materials and each of them constructed snares in their own village forests.
A week later, one of the pig snare experts along with Fiji Petrel project officers, Poasa Qalo and Eleazar O’Connor travelled around Gau to check snares set by the participants of the workshop.
Follow up visits will be made over the next few months to evaluate progress with the technique.