Environmentalists on a mongoose hunt

By Faaiu Filipo

APIA: 20 Jan 2010: The Ministry of the Environment is launching a major programme next week, to try and catch a mongoose that has been sighted at the Aleipata area.

Principal Conservation Officer, Lesaisaea Niualuga confirmed that the pest was first sighted by villagers at Lalomanu in 2008.

It was again reported by workers at the wharf at Satitoa, three days before last years tsunami. Lesaisaea said that officers from their Ministry reported seeing a big and a small mongoose at Saitoa on the 21st of December last year.

The Ministry plans to work with the villagers in an effort to catch the mongoose using traps. Lesaisaea said they want to catch the pest so that experts can determine whether it came from Fiji or Hawaii. The mongoose has been used in Fiji to control the rat population, but has had negative impacts on other species such as birds and root crops.

The mongoose was originally thought to have been brought in Samoa through containers and other cargo for major development projects at the Aleipata area.

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