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Iguanas and Goats Threaten Humanity

Green iguanas and feral goats together threaten the future of humanity on remote Pacific islands, say two recent scientific studies in Pacific Science magazine.

The iguanas and goats were introduced as pets by human beings, and later ran wild and reproduced, eating up things that other species liked to eat.

Feral goats may look playful, but they can be dangerous to the environment.

Randolph Thaman, a professor at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, says: “Both goats and green iguanas clearly constitute serious threats to small islands and their fragile native and cultural biodiversity and ecosystems, with goats having historically proven to be particularly disastrous”.

He suggests that management efforts for both species should focus on preventing them from spreading, especially to smaller uninhabited islands with indigenous local iguana populations and threatened island ecosystems that have highly endemic plants and animal communities.

“The message from these two well-researched papers is that, for small islands — especially those with important populations of native or endemic animals and productive polycultural agricultural systems that are a foundation for food and productive security — the prevention or eradication of invasive alien species and diseases, remains the most positive option,” Thaman says.