In other, more positive iguana news, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, has reported the first successful captive breeding in over a decade of the endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima, distinct from the green or common iguana, Iguana iguana). The BBC reports:
Two rare Caribbean iguanas have been born at the Durrell Wildlife Park in Trinity, Jersey.
The Lesser Antillean iguanas successfully bred at Durrell for the first time in 11 years.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust first bred a single offspring in 1997, followed by eight more in 2000.
Durrell said the iguanas were becoming increasingly endangered in the wild because of habitat loss, predators and interbreeding.
Mark Brayshaw, head of Durrell’s animal collection, said: “We are delighted by the arrival of these new hatchlings.
“They are feeding and growing well, and we are continuing to monitor them carefully at our herpetology department.
“We will continue our efforts to breed the iguanas and are encouraged by this recent success.”
Once widespread throughout the Lesser Antillean chain of islands in the eastern Caribbean, this large iguana is now thought to be confined to just a few islands and a couple of offshore islets. Iguana populations on all the islands in its current range have declined considerably in recent times, and on many it is considered to be in critical danger of extinction.
A combination of man-made problems threatens the survival of the Lesser Antillean iguana. These include habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting, interbreeding with a closely related introduced species, the green iguana, and introduced predators and competitors.
Previously on Green Antilles: The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in the Caribbean.
[Photo: Charles Knapp via bushwarriors.org]