Brachylophus bulabula

Central Fiji Banded Iguana

Stats

IUCN Status: Endangered
Range: Fiji Islands
Population: ~6,000 and declining
Size: Maximum 7.5″ body length
Threats: Habitat loss of native forest trees; Predation by introduced domestic cats, mongoose, and rats.
fiji

Species information

  • The Central Fiji Banded Iguana an arboreal species and is one of a handful of endangered iguana species found on several islands in the Fiji archipelago. The current total population is roughly estimated to be 6,000 individuals scattered across the central Fiji islands, with none of the populations being considered secure.
  • The leading causes of endangerment are habitat destruction (forest burning, logging, fragmentation, agricultural expansion, and mining) and the presence of invasive predators (Black Rat, Indian Mongoose, and feral cats). Banded Iguanas are particularly vulnerable to predation when coming to the ground to nest and lay eggs. Free-ranging goats – and goat herding practices, such as fire burning – are of particular concern on smaller islands as they destroy the iguana’s food sources.
  • Although fully protected by CITES Appendix I, the poaching and trafficking of Fiji’s iguanas for the commercial pet trade has emerged as a potential threat to their survival. Fiji iguanas are sometimes publicly offered for sale in the European, Asian, and U.S. commercial hobbyist pet trade, although those animals or their parents were illegally collected and smuggled out of the country, since Fiji has not issued non-zoo export permits.
  • A Species Action Plan for all Fijian iguanas is currently being prepared. Conservation recommendations will need to focus on invasive predator control, habitat protection, improved forestry and agricultural practices, and education and outreach to local communities.

IIF Grants Received

Completion of the IUCN Fijian Iguana (Brachylophus sp.)
Recovery/Strategic Plan 2018–2023

Kim Lovich

$7,925

Assessment of Epiphytic Breeding-site Usage by Fijian Banded Iguanas (Brachylophus sp.)

Robert Fisher

$8,900

Population Assessments and Conservation Genetics Analyses of Fijian Iguana (Brachylophus sp.)

Robert Fisher

$10,000

Population Assessments and Conservation Genetics Analyses of Fijian Iguana (Brachylophus sp.)

Robert Fisher

$8,000

Population Assessments and Conservation Genetics Analyses of Fijian Iguana (Brachylophus sp.)

Robert Fisher

$12,000

This project will build on previous work done in 2009–2010 by doing more extensive surveys and genetic testing. More intensive surveys will provide population estimates for both the new species of crested iguana and the previously known species of banded iguana to determine conservation priorities for this genus. A microsatellite library to document and further examine the genetics of the entire genus will also be developed to assist in future conservation and management of wild and captive populations.

Banded Iguana (Brachylophus sp.) Species Assessment of the North Eastern Fijian Islands

Robert Fisher

$6,000

Recent genetic and morphological research on Fijian Iguanas (genus Brachylophus) has shown that there are three living species in the genus and indicated that there may be more undescribed diversity in the genus. This research also identified that the northern large islands have never been assessed for iguanas and although it’s known that there are iguanas on these islands none were included in the genetics or morphological analysis. This work will help to more completely describe the diversity of living species in the genus Brachylophus, and is necessary to begin conservation planning for the Banded Iguanas. To date most conservation actions have been focused on the Crested Iguanas.

Reports from the Field