The Fijian archipelago is a paradise for bird lovers, who can spend endless hours discovering the 100 plus species of birds that can be found on the islands. The rainforests along the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour on the mainland of Viti Levu and the rainforest island of Kadavu are especially good areas to sight birds, in particular musk parrots, fantails and honeyeaters. The island of Taveuni has a diverse birdlife as well, and the southeastern region of Vanua Levu hosts endangered silk tails. Several small islands have been set aside as bird sanctuaries, especially for nesting boobies. Amongst those worth visiting are: Namenalala Island off Vanua Levu and Qamea and Matangi islands off Taveuni in the north, and Bird Island off of Vatulele in the south.
Fiji has 30 species of reptiles, 12 of which are endemic, such as the crested iguana. These beautiful creatures are mostly found on Yaduataba Island off Vanua Levu, an area which has become a sanctuary for crested iguanas since their numbers started to decline rapidly in the 1990s. The banded iguana is also found in Fiji, but is difficult to spot due to its size and camouflaging abilities. Three of the 30 reptiles in Fiji are frogs (including the tree frog, which is found in the rainforests of Viti Levu and the common cane toad, which was imported from South America to fight the proliferation of cane beetles), 10 are geckos, 12 are skinks and three are snakes (including the elusive Boa snake, which is considered a god in Fijian mythology). Mongooses were imported to Fiji to help curtail a rat problem, but now they pose a threat to the harmless snakes native to the area.
Fiji Underwater Life
The underwater life of Fiji may be the most impressive of the archipelago’s fauna. The warm waters of the South Pacific offer a home for many dolphins, rays and reef sharks, and Fiji’s many coral reefs host a rich marine life, which includes sea snakes, anemone and a plethora of exotic fish species. Five species of turtle can be found in Fiji’s waters, and three of these species lay eggs on the beaches in Fiji. Some resorts on the islands have started conservation programs to protect the turtles and to discourage villagers from killing them for their meat.
Kula Eco Wildlife Park on the Coral Coast near the town of Sigatoka is an excellent conservation park that has taken on the significant task of breeding many of Fiji’s endemic species. Visitors can spend hours observing the park’s wildlife collection, which includes iguanas, orange doves, parrots, falcons, hawks, fruit bats, snakes and even some of Fiji’s marine life. The park offers free hands-on environmental education for children.