Theresa Ralogaivau www.fijtimes.com - Friday, January 22, 2010
QUARANTINE officials conducted surveillance on Qamea Island yesterday as part of investigations into an iguana-like creature that has alarmed islanders.
Agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith confirmed he would receive some feedback from the investigation team today.
"They arrived on Taveuni today (yesterday) but because we have been doing some work in Ra where communication hasn't been clear, were not able to make contact," he said.
The team is headed by the chief veterinary officer. Dr Robin Archari, and includes two paravets and a quarantine officer specialised in entomology or the scientific study of insects.
They are expected to determine the creature's species, its nesting grounds, eating habits and whether it has been a threat to the islands fauna and flora.
They inspected parts of Qamea Island determining nesting grounds and population. They are expected on Taveuni today to further examine the creature that is caged in the custody of the livestock department on the island.
"The findings are important because with further consultation from the community we can then determine the eradication plan if any is to be followed," Col. Smith said.