PROTECTING A CARIBBEAN WONDERLAND
1. RICORD’S IGUANA
This Critically Endangered species is one of the most endangered lizards in the world. The Ricord’s Iguana survives as three subpopulations within the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in southwestern Dominican Republic. The wild population, estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000 individuals, continues to decline due to invasive species and loss of habitat.
2. RHINOCEROS IGUANA
Current estimates for the Vulnerable Rhinoceros Iguana are between 10,000 and 17,000 animals, of which about 10 subpopulations occur in the Dominican Republic. In most areas, these iguanas exist in low densities and are declining due to invasive species and human pressure on their habitat.
3. INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED
Cabritos Island was declared a national park in 1974. In 1996 Lake Enriquillo was added to create the Lake Enriquillo and Cabritos Island National Park.The 20,000-hectare protected area is one of the core zones of the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a designated Ramsar site, and an Important Bird Area.
4. CONSERVATION ACTION ON CABRITOS
Since the island achieved national park status, the iguana species on Cabritos Island have benefited from protective management and natural habitat regeneration. However, the persistence of invasive species on the island continues to threaten the long-term survival of these imperiled animals.
5. LOCAL SUPPORT
A local field team from the Dominican Republic was assembled and trained in removal techniques for the Cabritos Island Restoration Project. Through training, the team has developed extensive knowledge and gained experience in invasive species removal techniques, building capacity for future projects in the region.