Yadua Taba Crested Iguana Sanctuary
Fiji’s First Crested Iguana Sanctuary
DISTRIBUTION & HABIT
There are approximately 10,000 Crested Iguanas in the world and more than 90% live on Yadua Taba Island. The remaining estimate of less than 1,000 individuals are scattered among 10 other islands off the western coast of the Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Fijian iguanas live in trees and favour coastal forests and tropical dry forests. They eat only plants.
Previously, all the banded iguanas were lumped as a single species until genetic analysis in 2008 made new finds. The Fiji Banded Iguana (B. bulabula) (2008) in the central islands and the other is the Gau Banded iguana in Gau Island (2017). They are distinct from the Lau Banded Iguana (B. fasciatus) in the Lau Group.
The National Trust established Fiji’s first wildlife sanctuary in 1980, protecting Yadua Taba Island, the home of the crested iguanas. Conservation actions include eradication of invasive plants and goats, scientific research, iguana population surveys and community outreach and awareness.
Since 2009 the NTF has worked with partners for the captive breeding and reintroduction of the crested iguanas Monuriki island, and for the surveys of iguanas on other islands in the Fiji group.
✓ Continued iguana population increase
✓ Natural Tropical Dry Forest reforestation
✓ Overwhelming local community support
✓ Recovery Plan for Crested Iguana implemented
3 Endangered Species
NATIVE FIJIAN IGUANAS
The Fijian crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) and the banded iguanas (B. fasciatus, B. bulabula and B. gau) are among one the most distinctive reptiles in the world. These beautiful iguanas, along with the recently extinct giant iguanas of Fiji and Tonga, have been a great biogeographic mystery as their closest relatives occur thousands of kilometers across the Pacific in the Americas.
The Fijian crested iguanas are arboreal and herbivorous, and eat leaves, buds, flowers and fruit from a range of forest plants.
The natural history of crested iguana is based largely on research conducted on Yadua Taba for crested iguanas which primarily rely on dry forest.
The natural history of banded iguanas is largely from captive populations and are primarily found in wet forest.
Important tree species for Fijian iguanas include Cevua (Vavaea amicorum), Kau Loa (Diospyros elliptica), Qiqila (Micromelum minutum), Vau (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Yaqata (Mallotus tiliifolius), Moivi (Kingiodendrun platycarpum), Vesiwai (Pongamia pinnata), Cibi cibi (Cynometra insulari), Ivi (Inocarpus fagifer).
Where iguanas are found in disturbed areas introduced species have become important parts of their diets and include the leaves and fruit of the introduced passion fruit (Passiflora suberosa) and the vine Gasau cebucebu (Jasminum didymium).
Yadua Taba is not open to recreational visitors.
Research requests may be submitted on the Research Permit Application Form.