April 01, 2010

Fiji Sun's attempted April Fool's Day prank

Happy April Fool's Day folks!
Expert to investigate case of disappearing animals in Namosi

An overseas expert will visit Fiji to conduct research into several incidents involving the disappearance of cattle and other animals from land adjacent to a deep section of the Navua River in Namosi Province.

A number of cattle, pigs and poultry have vanished without a trace after going down to the bank of Fiji’s third largest river to drink.

The location is near the village of Seganidua, about 15-kilometres inland.

The village headman, Mr Yacasega, confirmed the incidents and claimed he had himself recently seen a bull being dragged under the water by a monster of some kind. A fierce struggle followed and within a minute or so the bull had gone.

He added that it was difficult to clearly see the creature in question as it was well after sunset and visibility was poor.

Local wildlife authority, Dr Vuniwai Nimanumanu, said there could be a number of possibilities, at least two of which pointed to invasive species not native to Fiji.

He stated that as the area is close to where Anaconda II was produced several years ago, a snake used in the filming may have escaped from the film set into the jungle and grown to a large size. Another possibility is a large Green Iguana, of the introduced species that is currently being eliminated in Cakaudrove.

An unlikely possibility is a crocodile which might have travelled to Fiji from the Solomon Islands on ocean debris, as has been recorded to have happened several times in the 1800s. (In fact, one of these crocodiles was reported to have claimed nine lives, according to R A Derrick in his book, The Fiji Islands.)

A further possible perpetrator could be a rogue Bronze Pointer shark, a species known to regularly move up into freshwater from the sea and to inhabit deep pools on several of Fiji’s major rivers. Sharks have been reported at locations in the Rewa River, over 50 km from the sea.

Dr Nimanumanu stressed just how critical it is to keep invasive animal species out of Fiji as these threatened our indigenous animals and birds, which are found no where else in the world.

World authority on invasive species, Dr Lirpa Loof, of McDonald’s University in Scotland, will arrive in Fiji today to commence investigations into the mystery disappearances. His report is being anticipated with much interest and expectation.

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