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AMERICAN iguanas have reportedly been seen on mainland Vanua Levu.
The northern agriculture office yesterday confirmed it had received reports from villages in Cakaudrove that they had seen similar iguanas as those on Taveuni in their area.
The reports have prompted the department to appoint village headmen from villages in three districts in Cakaudrove as temporary biosecurity officers to monitor the situation and update the department.
The sighting reports were discussed at the Tunuloa district meeting in the first quarter of this year.
Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini said villagers had informed the meeting that the iguana similar to the one in Qamea was seen on the beach side of Qaralevu settlement in Tunuloa.
The headmen, now also temporary bio-security officers, in the villages of Karoko, Tukavesi, Koroivonu, Kanakaka, Qaralevu, Buca, Loa, Vunikura, Nawi, Dakuniba, and Rabi and Kioa islands have started monitoring the situation following the reports.
These villages sit on mainland Vanua Levu with Dakuniba Village a 20-minute boat ride away from Taveuni.
There have also been reports that people could be transporting iguanas from Taveuni.
Agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith has issued a strong warning against the transportation of those reptiles.
Col. Smith said under the Bio-Security Declaration, a person could face a maximum penalty of $50,000 while companies could be fined up to $200,000 if caught transporting the iguana to other places.
He confirmed that an iguana was also found on Koro island in the Lomaiviti Group earlier this year, and had been taken to the Koronivia Research Station.
He said there were possibilities of the reptile swimming such a distance, which they concluded for the one found in Koro.
"If it can get to Koro, it can certainly get across to Buca Bay area but we are closely monitoring things," Col. Smith said.
Last week, a group from NatureFiji-MareqetiViti held workshops in the area teaching villagers how to trap and kill an iguana. Col. Smith stated last week that the reptile had started feeding on the million dollar dalo industry.
Principal Agricultural Officer northern John Cox confirmed they were working closely with the headmen to monitor the situation.
"These men have been given the roles of biosecurity officers because reports have surfaced that villagers are seeing the American iguana around their areas," Mr Cox said.
"I have received the reports myself and that is why we have created the temporary biosecurity posts for the village headmen. It is their duty to monitor and report to the office of NatureFiji every week and to the agriculture office as well whether or not they see an iguana," he said.