The Bio-security Authority of Fiji (BAF) is strengthening inter-island borders and heightening surveillance alongside areas close to Taveuni in a bid to cease the unfold of the large invasive iguana (GII).
BAF Invasion Alien Species undertaking coordinator Tuverea Tuamoto mentioned a international landowner of Qamea had launched 10 juvenile GII on his property and the iguanas had since unfold to different close by islands.
“The unique Qamea animals unfold quickly and are actually reported in Qamea, Matagi and Laucala,” he mentioned.
Mr Tuamoto mentioned the precise distribution for Laucala island was unknown as it’s privately owned and operated as an unique resort.
He mentioned GIIs may lay clutches of between 20 and 45 eggs and that ongoing monitoring and surveillance operations by BAF in Qamea had been concentrating on the gravid females and egg nesting areas to stop the growing inhabitants of GII.
“The specter of GII spreading to different close by islands is imminent, nonetheless, BAF is working with native communities to be their eyes and ears on the bottom to report sightings of GII of their areas.
“BAF can also be strengthening inter-island borders and likewise closely present process surveillance alongside areas closest to Taveuni to stop incursion into new areas.”
Sia Mitchell, a villager of Qamea, mentioned they may depend about 60-80 eggs most in a single hatch and the villagers had been cautious of overpopulation.
“You recognize once we kill one feminine American iguana after which we intestine them and depend the eggs, it’s simply unbelievable,” Ms Mitchell mentioned.
“The extra you hunt them, the extra they’re there as a result of they multiply actual quick.”
She mentioned the primary GII was seen by her youngsters in 2007.
“The primary one was seen by my 23-year-old daughter was eight years previous then.
“That’s once we had been residing in Yaregau, a non-public property owned by the Qamea Resort house owners at the moment.
“My youngsters had been on their solution to the seaside to hop into a ship to go for varsity and that’s once they got here throughout the primary iguana that was to be discovered.”
She mentioned since then, villagers would come throughout and one or two of these creatures had been sitting on rocks sunning themselves.
“It’s throughout Qamea, and folks all around the island have discovered one or two.”
Based on her, earlier than BAF got here to the island, they’d kill them as a result of they knew it was not a standard iguana.
“For those who catch them, they may attempt to hit you with their tail, nevertheless it doesn’t have something sharp that would harm you.
“Even with claws, they don’t attempt to claw you or what.”
Nonetheless, she mentioned they had been a nuisance as they eat leafy greens from their plantations and seafood as properly.
“One can inform that they’re round their property while you see all these chewed up leaves such as you put in a blender and also you mix them simply to present you that mulch.
“And you already know, they go underwater in order that they eat seafood as properly, particularly shellfish.
“We planted cabbages, they ate it and so they even go for the very smooth leaves on the bele plant.”
Ms Mitchell mentioned there have been villagers who would cook dinner GIIs.
“They form of heard about it in order that they make curry dish out of it and while you ask individuals concerning the style of one thing they’re consuming for the primary time, they’ll say it tastes like hen.
“I’ve by no means tasted it, however I’ve heard that you already know, they make curry dish out of it and so they ate it.”
She mentioned it was by means of workshops performed by BAF officers that they discovered extra about GIIs, together with their variations, adaptation and their want for daylight because it provides them power.
BAF is requesting the general public, particularly communities within the affected areas, to cooperate with them and assist cease the unfold of GII.
Members of the general public are additionally suggested to not devour GII meat or try and breed them.
Sighting of GII could be reported to the Large Invasive Iguana quick code 5995, through e mail on: email@example.com or go to the BAF web site at www.baf.com.fj