MONGOOSE SIGHTING PUTS NOUMEA ON FULL ALERT

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Alien species not welcome in New Caledonia

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, May 25, 2010) – New Caledonia animal health and quarantine service have been on full alert since this weekend, when one male and one female mongoose were spotted near the Nouméa wharf.

Following on reports from residents who were not used to seeing the animals, animal and quarantine services managed to capture the stray couple.

Mongooses do not live in New Caledonia, but they are a common sight in neighbouring Fiji, which also manufactures food products for the whole region.

Michel Falco, deputy director of the animal health department, told local media late last week an unwanted introduction of the species in New Caledonia could have devastating repercussions on the local fauna and flora and therefore they did not want to take any chances.

The two captured animals were put down and have now been frozen pending further examinations in order to precisely identify their most probable origin.

Mongooses were introduced in Fiji in the late 1890s as a natural predator to rats, as the local sugar industry, fuelled by Indian labour, began to develop.

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