2019 Fiji Crested Iguana Report

Eradicating Cats on Monu and Macuata Islands, Fiji

Peter Harlow, Jake Taoi and Jhabar Vadada

National Trust for Fiji Islands, C/o  Yanuya Village, Yanuya, Fiji

Monu Island (73 ha), showing Likuliku Beach, seen from nearby Monuriki Island.

Peter and Jake setting a cat trap under a ‘goat-barrier’ of logs, which successfully stopped goats from stepping on cat traps.
goats in Fiji


One of four camera trap photos of the Likuliku Beach cat

Outcomes and Impact

The Quaqua Beach cat was recorded on camera #2 at ~19.00 hrs on 17 May (see Fig. 3.), and captured in trap #3 later that night. It was a large, healthy, adult ~ 2.5 kg female. It was immediately euthanized and a post mortem conducted; its stomach contents consisted of several Pacific rats (Rattus exulans). Post mortem photos of its reproductive organs were sent to Australian Veterinarian Dr Robert Johnson, BVSc (Feline Medicine). He stated “The uterus is definitely immature/unused. Not sure why this would be in a healthy feral cat? Some can mate as early as 12-14 weeks”.  The only explanation for this is that this cat had never mated and bred, as there was no male cat on the island.  

A second cat was recorded on camera #6 behind Likuliku Beach on four different occasions: 31 May (~17.00 hrs), 1 June (~8.00 hrs), 4 June (~16.00 hrs), and 7 June (~12.00 hrs).  Although an additional trap site (with two traps: T11) was set up near camera #6 on 17 June, this cat never re-visited the site and was never captured. These cat traps were removed on 29 June.

No other cats were recorded on any other camera traps, although many thousands of photos (mostly of goats and a single tourist) were downloaded and checked from the 7 camera traps in the forests of Monu.

The Likiliku Beach cat that was never captured. The sign on the tree says “Danger, cat trap below”, with an arrow pointing down. This cat can read!


While not a perfect outcome, the continued survival of a single female cat on Monu Island is not a catastrophe.  The important result from this project is the knowledge that cats are not breeding on Monu Island, and that this cat will eventually die of old age or disease.