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Colorful welcome to the Fiji-banded iguana

11:34 AM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - If Denver Zoo visitors need to warm up a bit during Zoo Lights, they can visit one its newest arrivals: a Fiji-banded iguana.

The very colorful, 12-year-old male arrived recently from San Diego Zoo and is the first of his species to live at Denver Zoo in eight years.

Eventually, zookeepers hope to couple him with a female with which to breed. Visitors can see the iguana now inside the zoo's Tropical Discovery building.

Male Fiji-banded iguanas are known for their bright green coloring with broad, light blue or white bands. Females are usually solid green with some spotting. They can grow to about two-feet long but weigh less than a pound. They are an arboreal and herbivorous species and spend much of their time in trees in both wet and dry forests.

As their name indicates, they are found on only a handful of islands in Fiji and are among the most geographically isolated iguana species in the world. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies them as "endangered" with only a recent population estimate of 6,000 individuals on the islands of Makogai and Makodroga. Their greatest threats come from habitat loss and mongooses and house cats, which have been introduced to their islands in recent years. The Fiji-banded iguana now has full protection under both Fiji and international laws.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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