22 Dec 2010

Goats pose threat to endangered Fiji iguanas

2:37 pm on 22 December 2010

A few rogue and cunning goats on Monoriki Island in Fiji stand in the way of saving the islands endangered iguanas.

The feral goats have completely destroyed the understory of the forest on the island, with no regeneration occurring, leaving no food plants for the iguanas to survive on.

The iguana population has declined markedly in the time the goats have been there.

The National Trust of Fiji has been working to rid the island of the goats, with locals from the Yanuca island mustering and capturing about 150 goats for live removal since June.

However, Bill Nagle of the Pacific Invasives Initiative, says the few remaining goats have become clever in evading the locals.

"The ones that are left, which may all be the females which appear to be a bit smarter than the males, because most of the males got captured in the first few musters, they'll be aware of all the hiding places on the island. Some of them are just too difficult for people to get to safely."

Bill Nagle says the locals now have to decide if they are willing to allow professional hunters on to the island to kill the remaining goats.