Malolo Island Update 2014

Report submitted by Peter Harlow, Taronga Conservation Society, Australia

 

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Hatchling Fijian Crested Iguana on Malolo Island. Photo by Robert Fisher.

In 2011, Fijian Crested Iguanas were first reported at tourist resorts on Malolo and Qalito Islands in the Mamanucas Group, which are just off the west coast of Viti Levu opposite the town of Nadi. Follow-up surveys on both islands failed to detect further iguanas, indicating these are critically small populations. The Qalito iguana that was found in 2011 had been clearly attacked and injured by a cat. Malolo contains very little remaining native forest, but the Likuliku Resort have recently implemented a cat control program, are reforesting the hills surrounding the resort, and now maintain a captive group of five Malolo Crested Iguanas for potential future captive breeding. This is an exciting new conservation project on an island where the Crested Iguana was suspected of being extirpated!