All news articles

June 24th, 2014
First Global Assessment of Seabirds Threatened by Invasive Alien Species on Islands Released
May 21st, 2014
Island Bright Spots in Conservation
January 29th, 2014
Saving the World’s Most Endangered Lizards
January 29th, 2014
Salvando a las Lagartijas en Mayor Peligro del Mundo
November 25th, 2013
Island Conservation Impact Report
October 23rd, 2013
Hawadax Island Recovery Exceeding Expectations
October 15th, 2013
One Step Closer to Restoring Balance and Safe Seabird Habitat in Gwaii Haanas
July 24th, 2013
Back from the Brink of Extinction
July 24th, 2013
International Experts Convened to Improve Tropical Island Rodent Eradications
June 11th, 2013
Titi on Tahanea get a Helping Hand; Globally Endangered Shorebird Protected
June 11th, 2013
Coup de pouce pour les Titi de Tahanea. Protection d’un limicole en danger d’extinction
June 11th, 2013
Parks Canada and the Haida Nation Restoring Critical Seabird Habitat
June 4th, 2013
Native Iguanas and Shearwaters Saved from Invasive Mice on Allen Cay, The Bahamas
May 16th, 2013
Invasive Species: The 18-km2 rat trap
February 14th, 2013
Island Night Lizard: No longer threatened?
February 14th, 2013
Island Recovery Evident Ten Years after the Removal of Rats
January 14th, 2013
Battle at the End of Eden by Amanda R. Martinez
January 14th, 2013
Native Species Expected to Rebound on Rat-free Palmyra Atoll
December 8th, 2012
Galápagos Restoration Projects Makes Islands Safe for Native Species
December 8th, 2012
Island Conservation Opens New Office in Hawaii
July 31st, 2012
Funding secured for Lord Howe Island restoration
July 31st, 2012
Tahanea Atoll Motus now safe for the Titi!
July 31st, 2012
Island Conservation and Birdlife International Form Partnership to Tackle Pacific Pests
June 14th, 2012
Million Dollar Mouse Campaign
May 31st, 2012
It's Official!
October 31st, 2011
The Sounds of Recovery
October 31st, 2011
Olivier Langrand joins Island Conservation as Director of Global Affairs
ARCHIVED ARTICLES
05/2012 Restoring Wildlife Habitat on Desecheo Island
05/2012 Restauración del Hábitat del Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre de Desecheo
02/2012 Native Species on San Nicolas Island are Now Free to Reclaim Their Island Home
09/2011 Meet Dr. Ray Nias
09/2011 Palmyra: No Place for Pessimists
09/2011 Palmyra Atoll Restoration Project Completes Operational Phase to Remove Non-native Rats
07/2011 Island Hopping: Saving Species in the Tropical Pacific
04/2011 Meet our new Caribbean Regional Director!
03/2011 The Surfer's Journal meets Island Conservation
03/2011 Galapagos Restoration Partners Release Hawks Back to Islands
03/2011 Socios a cargo de la restauración de Galápagos liberan a veinte gavilanes en las islas
01/2011 Galápagos Restoration Project Achieves Conservation Milestone
12/2010 Island Conservation's 2009 Annual Report
12/2010 Island Conservation's Annual Report
08/2010 Rat Island is officially rat-free!
08/2010 IC helps Robinson Crusoe Island residents with tsunami recovery
05/2010 Meet our new South America Regional Director!
05/2010 Author David Quammen speaks on behalf of Island Conservation
03/2010 2010 International Year of Biodiversity
12/2009 Island Conservation's 2008 Annual Report
09/2009 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Publishes Priority List for Restoration of Islands with Invasive Species
05/2009 Island Conservation Honored with Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award
12/2008 Saving Seabirds in the Aleutians
04/2008 IC and Galapagos and Machalilla National Parks unite to protect Waved Albatross on Isla de la Plata

 
January 29th, 2014
Saving the World’s Most Endangered Lizards
New Collaboration for Caribbean Island Iguana Conservation

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Contact: Sally Esposito, 706-969-2783, sally.esposito@islandconservation.org

The most endangered group of lizards in the world, Caribbean island iguanas, are beginning 2014 with a new coalition of conservation champions resolved to implement bold actions to help save these imperiled species. Governments, academics, non-government organizations and private stakeholders will collaborate on more than 20 projects focused on alleviating threats to iguanas, changing public perceptions, and ensuring long-term financial, government, and public support for iguana conservation.

With one Caribbean island iguana species already extinct and eight of the remaining 11 listed as critically endangered or endangered by the IUCN[1] Red List of Threatened Species, this region-wide effort comes at a critical time for the survival of these species.

“Collaboration is key in this endeavor,” according to Brent Murry, Science Coordinator for the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative and representative for the new effort. “The threats to these unique animals are immense and beyond any one organization or agency. A region-wide effort allows each country and organization to tap into regional expertise and resources in order to implement the local solutions iguanas so greatly need.”

Projects range from identifying essential habitat for these lizards’ survival, reducing threats from invasive species and supporting on-the-ground law enforcement efforts, to promoting regional art contests. These projects and numerous others stemmed from a workshop held in Puerto Rico this past December that brought together 61 participants from 16 nations, including a representative for Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and a private land owner in the British Virgin Islands. Workshop participants identified the most critical issues for iguana conservation and developed action plans and timelines for projects considered to be highest priority.

“This workshop was the first regional initiative that has brought together species experts with critical public and private stakeholders,” said Carmen R. Guerrero-Pérez, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and workshop host. “The bar was raised, and now we are committed to implement the agreed-upon recovery actions locally as well as through international collaboration with other countries.”

“December’s workshop was the catalyst for conservation actions that will have an enormous impact on iguanas across the region,” said Bryan Arroyo, Assistant Director of International Affairs with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The Service will be an active participant in developing and implementing these projects and supporting Caribbean governments and partners as they endeavor to save a piece of their natural heritage.”

“A key outcome of the workshop was a renewed commitment to coordinated, on-the-ground efforts that will directly benefit iguana conservation, including headstarting, restoration and protection of iguana habitats, and reintroduction efforts to enhance population recovery,” said Allison Alberts, Chief Conservation and Research Officer for San Diego Zoo Global and co-sponsor of the workshop.

Iguana conservation has a proven record of success, and partners are confident these projects will have a lasting impact. In 2002, the Grand Cayman blue iguana numbered fewer than 25 individuals. Today, there are more than 750 blue iguanas on Grand Cayman thanks to a conservation strategy that includes habitat protection, captive breeding and release, research, monitoring and education. The Jamaican iguana—thought to be extinct as recently as the late 1980s—now numbers over 300 individuals, as a result of intensive conservation efforts. But even these successes remain at risk when they run up against competing demands for land and resources. Commercial development threatens to wipe out virtually all the remaining habitat of the Jamaican iguana. Without vigilant conservation attention, success one day can turn to failure the next.

“Many of these conservation projects comprise tangible on-the-ground actions that will make a real and lasting difference in the protection of Caribbean iguana populations and their habitats,” said Kirsty Swinnerton, Caribbean Program Manager for Island Conservation. “We are excited to be part of this extraordinary effort to save these flagship species, and to lend our expertise and resources in removing invasive species that threaten the survival of these iconic animals.”

Iguanas are the largest native vertebrates left on many of the Caribbean islands. As seed dispersers, they are vital to the ecosystem and help to maintain healthy native plant communities. Several iguana species exist as single populations with no more than a few hundred individuals. Invasive, introduced mammalian predators such as feral cats and dogs, as well as pigs and goats are the greatest threat to many iguana species and their habitats. Other significant threats include habitat destruction by charcoal production and land development, collection for the pet trade, hunting, vehicular mortality, and competition and interbreeding with the introduced, invasive common green iguana.

To view a slideshow of photos (for download), click here: http://www.flickr.com//photos/islandconservation/sets/72157638055490843/show/

About The Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative

The Caribbean LCC is a partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the wider Caribbean working to develop and provide sound management-driven science to help in the conservation of natural and cultural resources. The Caribbean LCC is one of a network of 22 LCCs initiated by the US Department of the Interior that cover the United States including Alaska, the Pacific islands, parts of neighboring Mexico and Canada, and the Caribbean. Visit www.caribbeanlcc.org. Follow us on twitter at @Caribbean_LCC.

About Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources

The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources was created in 1972. Our mission is to protect, conserve and administer the natural and environmental resources of the country to guarantee their enjoyment for the future generations and to stimulate a better life quality. Please refer to www.drna.gobierno.pr to learn more about us.

About the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/

About San Diego Zoo Global

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.  The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation (IC) is a global, not-for-profit conservation organization whose mission is to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. Once invasive species are removed, native island species and ecosystems recover with little additional intervention. Since 1994, Island Conservation has deployed scientists to 52 islands worldwide to protect 994 populations of 389 native species. In 2012, IC launched the Small Islands, Big Difference (SIBD) campaign to save our world’s most vulnerable species. The SIBD campaign partners are rallying governments, NGOs, and bi-and multi-lateral institutions worldwide to support island invasive species eradications. IC is headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA with field offices in Australia, British Columbia, the Caribbean, Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Washington, DC.


[1] International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species; www.iucnredlist.org

Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura Cornuta) on Isla Cabritos, Dominican Republic. Photo: Tommy Hall/Island Conservation

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