During a schoolies trip from Hong Kong to Mana Island Resort, a group of school students engaged themselves in various environment programs, which was rewarded instantly as they got a rare chance to see one of Fiji’s endangered and endemic species, the Fiji banded Iguana.
The young Fiji banded Iguana, was found early that morning perched on a beach hibiscus tree, scientific name Hibiscus tiliaceus, which is not unusual as the beach hibiscus plant is the favorite diet of the iguana.
The young Fiji banded iguana, spots a beautiful emerald green color with fading blue bands, and almost seem domesticated resting on the hands of its handler. The Fiji banded Iguana is one of Fiji’s iconic reptiles and features in paintings, post cards and travel magazines. The species is also highly regarded in the Fijian traditions and culture as a totem of two Fijian tribes.
News of the new find, spread like fire through the resort, as the staff and management of Mana Island resort, escaped their hectic schedule and made speedy trips on their little buggy down to the nursery plant to get a glimpse of the iguana.
This was a pleasant and welcome sight. The iguana have largely become rare, their population driven to endangered status by the introduction of feral goats and the loss of their habitat to fires, storms and agricultural developments.
The island staff down at the plant nursery have quickly proceeded to constructing a cage in which the iguana will be kept away from introduced predators, such as cats, dogs and mongoose that have become a secondary threat to the survival of the Fiji Banded Iguana in the wild.