Blue Iguana Rebounds from Near-Extinction

July 19, 2011

Health experts from WCS’s Bronx Zoo and other members of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program are close to saving the endangered reptile in its home on Grand Cayman island.

Not all of Grand Cayman’s bathing beauties took a cruise ship or a plane to get to the island’s sun-soaked beaches. Some have been there all along. Take a 5-foot-long turquoise lizard, known to relatively few of the island’s visitors and nearly extinct just a decade ago. Now, thanks to a little help from WCS health experts and their partners, the Grand Cayman blue iguana, as it’s known, is making a comeback.

Though blue iguanas once ranged over most of the island’s coastal areas and dry shrublands, by 2002, their entire population hovered between 10 and 25 individuals. Habitat destruction, car-related mortality, and predation by dogs and cats all contributed to this decline. A consortium of local and international partners stepped in to create the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, and went on to breed, care for, and release more than 500 reptiles into the wild, giving this critically endangered species a genuine chance for recovery.

Read more about the blue iguana’s recovery story in this article from USA Today.

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