Zoo Scientists Protect Rare Fijian Iguana

A rare baby iguana that was discovered on the island of Malolo Levu in Fiji has been moved to a captive environment by San Diego Zoo scientists to protect the animal from predators. The Fijian Crested Iguana was found during a recent population survey of a remnant dry forest area. The baby iguana brings the total documented number to 31.

“We found a new baby the other night and have named him Savuti” said Kim Lovich, curator of reptile at San Diego Zoo Global. “To protect him from being predated by cats we have moved him into a captive environment until he is bigger when we plan to put him back into the forest.”

The Fijian Crested iguana was considered extinct on Malolo Island until 2010, and a number of surveys have been taken since then to document the species that continue to survive in the few acres of dry forest left.

“We are avid that the little bit of dry forest that we have on our lease is maintained and preserved “said Steve Anstey, Group General Manager, Ahura Resorts. “Dry forests are one of the most endangered eco systems on the planet and it is crucial that all efforts are made to protect the small areas that remain and help revegitate it.”

Ahura Resorts, working closely with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Zoo in Australia and the San Diego Zoo, have identified the major threats affecting the iguana population, including controlling the feral cat and rat population and keeping some iguanas in a protected breeding facility as the resorts. The resort is working to develop at ongoing tropical dry forest reforestation program so existing native habitat can be expanded.