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The decline of the endemic Fijian crested iguana Brachylophus vitiensis in the Yasawa and Mamanuca archipelagos, western Fiji

Harlow, P.S. and Fisher, Martin and Tuiwawa, Marika and Biciloa, P.N. and Palmeirim, J.M. and Mersai, Charlene and Naidu, Shivanjani and Naikatini, Alivereti N. and Thaman, Baravi S. and Niukula, J. and Strand, E. (2007) The decline of the endemic Fijian crested iguana Brachylophus vitiensis in the Yasawa and Mamanuca archipelagos, western Fiji. Oryx-The International Journal of Conservation, 41 (1). pp. 44-50. ISSN 0030-6053

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    Abstract

    The endemic Fijian crested iguana Brachylophus vitiensis, categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, has been recorded from several islands in western Fiji. We conducted a survey for the crested iguana on 12 uninhabited and five inhabited islands in the Yasawa and Mamanuca archipelagos of western Fiji in September 2000. Night searches for sleeping iguanas along a total of 11.2 km of forest transects suggest that crested iguanas are either extremely rare or extinct on all of these islands. Although we collectively searched a total of 44 km of transect over 123 person hours, we located crested iguanas on only four islands: three small uninhabited islands (all, 73 ha) and one large inhabited island (22 km). In July 2003 we resurveyed two islands identified as having the best potential for the long-term conservation of crested iguanas, and found that populations were continuing to decline. We suggest that the scarcity of crested iguanas on all islands surveyed is due to the combination of habitat loss and the introduction of exotic predators. All islands surveyed have free ranging goats, forest fires have occurred repeatedly over the last few decades, and feral cats are established on many islands. To reverse the population decline of this species immediate intervention is required on selected islands to halt continuing forest degradation and to clarify the effects of introduced predators.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
    Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
    Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > Herbarium
    Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
    Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2007 12:33
    Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 19:17
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/705
    UNSPECIFIED

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