FIJI AUTHORITIES HUNT ‘AMERICAN’ IGUANAS

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Eradication program targets pest

By Ravai Vafo’ou SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 28, 2011) - Surveys have been carried out on the origins of the American Iguana that was discovered on Koro Island recently.

This was confirmed this morning at the Bio-diversity briefing at the Agricultural conference room in Raiwaqa, Suva [Suva is the capital city of Fiji].

Newly appointed Bio-security Authority of Fiji chief executive officer Elvis Silvestrini says the impacts the reptile has had on the local environment was also been investigated.

"We sent an officer out there last week who have received the specimen and brought it back to Suva, it is a large specimen and we have succeeded in dissecting it.

"And we’ve also looked at the impacts its having on its local environment and that is a process of reporting that we are waiting to be done at the moment.

"The officer only returned at the end of last week so we will be waiting to get that report quickly and on the back of that we will continue with our strategy of eradicating this pest, Sivestrini said.

To how the reptile got on the island is still a mystery however, Bio-security officials are keen on solving the puzzle.

"Certainly going back and seeing how it was that this American iguana has come into the country and prosecuting the individuals that are responsible," the CEO added.

Both Silvestrini and the permanent secretary for agriculture Lieutenant Colonel Mason Smith upon their briefing by the Bio-security officials also called for community support in tackling the iguana problem.

"I think it’s important to state here that we can only do this with the support of the community and once they find an iguana to report it.

"We’ve trained Turaga ni koro [village sub chief and spokesman] in the north and we intend to do the same with village headmen’s in Koro – and it’s an ongoing issue and one that can only be dealt with the help of the local community," Smith said.

Silvestrini said, "The community as the eyes and ears on the ground are in a position to help in the campaign."

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