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CONSERVING NATURE'S LITTLE SECRETS SINCE 1961

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Anegada Iguana Headstart Facility - Anegada Rock Iguana Species Restoration Programme

British Virgin Islands

History

The island of Anegada supports the last remaining population of the critically endangered Anegada Rock Iguana, Cyclura pinguis, whose numbers have been reduced to approximately less than 200 individuals in the wild. This has been brought about by a combination of habitat loss, habitat degradation by grazing animals and predation of juvenile iguanas by feral cats that prevent replenishment of the adult population.

 

The NPT, with help from several partners, has recently completed the construction of the ‘Headstart Facility’ which is a series of 6 enclosures, in which there are currently 15 juvenile Iguanas. These Iguanas are being fed with native plant food on a daily basis, and once a month they are weighed and measured. When the juveniles are of a size where they are no longer vulnerable to feral cats, they will be released into the wild.

Therefore, it is important that they are handled as little as possible by humans.

 

The primary purpose of this facility is to permit a large number of young Iguanas to be reared in a safe environment until they reach a body size at which their chance of survival in the wild is greatest. Ultimately, they will be released into suitably managed areas from which feral animals have been excluded. In the future, the facility will also be used for captive breeding purposes.

 

 

The NPT is also currently in the process of developing and producing environmental education materials on the Iguana facility which will be used in local schools to raise public awareness of the importance and vulnerability of Iguanas in Anegada’s present day environment.

 

The Anegada Rock Iguana rehabilitation programme is ongoing, and each year surveys will be undertaken to identify key nesting sites and to locate and capture hatchling Iguanas to transfer them to the safety of the facility away from the predatory cats. The NPT is also working with the local community of Anegada to identify ways in which the cats can be removed from the island.

Park Information

Established: 1997

Area: 0.38 acres

Photos

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