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Fiji Time: 2:29 AM on Thursday 17 April

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1m iguanas by 2016

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, December 05, 2013

FIJI is expected to be riddled with about one million American iguanas (AI) by 2016 if nothing is done to control their unmanageable population.

By the end of this year, it has been revealed that the AI population will have reached an all-time high of 10,000.

This information was relayed yesterday morning by NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (NFMV) director Nunia Thomas who said the problem existed unaddressed for too long.

"Since 2010, there has been more than $F200,000 spent on this operation, from research to community awareness to advocacy and capacity training for local communities in monitoring and capturing American iguanas," Ms Thomas said in her address at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas.

"The whole Pacific will be spending more on American iguana management if we do not pull our act together and secure funds to implement the Fiji eradication plan in this coming nesting season."

One female AI lays about 72 eggs per breeding season.

Pacific Invasives Initiative project co-ordinator Bill Nagle said the iguanas posed a threat to Fiji.

"Fiji is the only country in the Pacific that has native iguanas. They could be threatened by the American iguana and the effects on crops in other countries have been quite serious so that could well happen here too," Mr Nagle said in an interview.