Eladio-Fernandez island conservation science cabritos island dominican republic iguana

Isla Cabritos: Beyond the Camera Lens

By: Eladio Fernandez

For a while, I had been hearing great things about Island Conservation’s Isla Cabritos Project. Some of my colleagues and long-time friends in the Dominican Republic couldn’t stop raving about the positive impact on the two iguana species populations. I figured it was time to check it out for myself and, in the process, perhaps I could document some of it photographically.

Lago Enriquillo 11.28.2014

Lago Enriquillo surrounding Isla Cabritos. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

I started going to Lago Enriquillo and Isla Cabritos 15 years ago. The lake and its surroundings were very different back then. For starters, the lake was much drier and the level of the water was so low that we actually attempted driving to Isla Cabritos in 2003. Back then, Lago Enriquillo had three inner islands, Cabritos, Barbarita, and Islita. Today there is only one, Cabritos, as the other two are completely submerged. If one wanted to see an example of the effects of climate change, Lago Enriquillo would probably be the best place to do so.

Isla Barbarita 6.9.2005

Barbarita Island is now submerged. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

9C8U0103

Our SUV stuck in the mud. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

Needless to say, we never made it onto Isla Cabritos with my SUV.

We got it stuck about half way there and it took two guys, a car jack and the better part of 24 hours to get it on drier ground. I recall that while we waited for our vehicle to be freed from the mud trap, it would be common to see donkeys and cattle walking to and from Cabritos. At the time, we could not have imagined what the impact of invasive domestic animals meant for both the Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta) and Ricord’s Iguana (Cyclura ricordi) populations on the island.

Pier at La Azufrada

Pier at La Azufrada. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

Last November 2015, I met Wes Jolley and the rest of the crew upon my arrival to La Azufrada. I had no clue what to expect, but I had scheduled a 24-hour visit, camera-in-hand, to document their progress on Isla Cabritos. Immediately, I became aware of the hardships and difficulties these guys face when we had to haul 20+ empty 5-gallon bottles of water for a refill, a task which apparently has to be carried out frequently as there is no potable water on the island.

Eladio-fernandez-island-conservation-photographer-riccords-iguana-cabritos-island-atv

Unloading the many gallons of fresh water needed to survive on Cabritos Island. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

All of us had to chip in and carry as many water bottles as we could from my pick-up truck down to the boat. This process needed to be repeated on the dock at Isla Cabritos, but this time, a much shorter distance and onto the project’s ATV. I was impressed and curious at the same time when I saw the vehicle. I asked how they got it on the island and the story I heard is fitting for yet another thrilling chapter of the trials and tribulations of conservation work on Isla Cabritos.

Eladio-fernandez-island-conservation-photographer-riccords-iguana-cabritos-island

Juvenile Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

Upon getting settled at the campsite, I started seeing positive signs. There were baby Ricord’s Iguanas all around the camp site. They seemed very tolerant of the researcher’s presence and of course that meant great photographic possibilities. I went to work immediately! This was actually the first time I had seen such young individuals of both species despite having been on Cabritos many times before. The adults made for great subjects as well.

Lago E 9.23.2003

The lake surrounding Cabritos fluctuates often. When levels are low, the heat on Cabritos Island dries up anything exposed. Photo: Eladio Fernandez

Later on that afternoon, I accompanied Wes and Yimell on their camera trap rounds. When we arrived at the camera sites, these guys went into Taino-Indian-tracker mode. They could easily decipher feral cat tracks, determine the direction, and estimate how many animals were at a particular site. Of course, I found all this fascinating material for a behind-the-scenes reportage so I was clicking away with my camera.

Eladio-fernandez-island-conservation-photographer-riccords-iguana-cabritos-island-wes-jolley

Field team member Yimell Corona and Project Manager Wes Jolley studying tracks. Photo: Eladio Fernandez.

Afterwards, we returned to camp to process all the camera trap material. Some of these invasive animals were very elusive and I had to figure out a way to document their presence. Finally, one of the camera traps had some evidence of a feral cat––the backside and the tail of one. If getting a photograph of an actual feral cat on the island was going to be a challenge given the short amount of time I had, then I would have to settle for the second best option, a photo of Wes looking at a photo of the feral cat on the computer screen.

Eladio-fernandez-island-conservation-photographer-riccords-iguana-cabritos-island-camera-trap-2

Project Manager Wes Jolley viewing the monitoring camera on Cabritos Island. Photo: Eladio Fernandez.

My first experience with the Isla Cabritos Conservation Project would have to be considered an exploratory visit with hopes of returning again in the near future. Despite my time constraint, I left Cabritos the next day with a ton of photographic material that I hope will provide a better understanding of the important work Island Conservation and the Isla Cabritos crew have been able to achieve. But this is a success story still pending an ending, so stay tuned…

About Eladio Fernandez

Eladio Fernndez is a conservation photographer, a naturalist, author and publisher from the Dominican Republic. He has an extensive image bank on Caribbean flora, fauna and landscapes. His work also includes underwater subjects and captures vanishing cultural rituals and practices from the Caribbean. Some of Eladios images have appeared in magazines, such as the Wildlife As Canon Sees It ad campaign for National Geographic, Living Bird, and Condor. His photography books include the following: "Hispaniola, A Photographic Journey Through Island Biogeography" (Harvard U. Press and Grupo SID, 2007); "Orchids of Dominican Republic and Haiti" (AMCHAMDR 2007); "Jamaica: A Photographic Journey Through The Land of Wood and Water" (IMCA 2008); "Cuba, Un Encuentro Con Su Naturaleza" (IMCA 2010); "Reserva Cientifica Ebano Verde" (APAP 2011); "Un Siglo de Historia, Central Romana Corporation" (CR 2012); "Legado de Vida, Parques Nacionales de la Republica Dominicana" (ACAP 2012); and "Transformacin, Ciclo de Vida de las Mariposas de La Espaola" (IMCA 2014). Eladio currently serves as treasurer of Fondo Peregrino RD, a local branch of The Peregrine Fund, that oversees The Ridgway's Hawk Conservation Project in Dominican Republic. He also serves as an advisor for Fundacion Propa-gas, a Dominican NGO that implements nation-wide environmental education programs

Visit My Website
View All Posts

Follow Island Conservation on Social Media

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

Midway Atoll conservation

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this:
Send this to a friend

cbd concentrate wholesale cbd tea benefits affordable cbd cbd legal in wyoming what is the best cbd how much cbd to sleep how long does a bottle of cbd oil last cbd oil roll on cbd oil for neuropathy in feet cbd oil for warts cbd dispensaries how long do cbd effects last quicksilver cbd reviews what os cbd best form of cbd cbd homeschool cbd rosin for sale palmetto harmony cbd hemprx cbd oil are cbd and hemp oil the same natures cbd thc cbd cancer will cbd show up in blood work texas cbd oil legality cbd edibles denver cbd lubbock federal law cbd oil making cbd tincture with oil cbd dose for fibromyalgia cbd oil during day reddit cbd oil legal maryland cbd oil vending machine canadian cbd oil for sale plus cbd oil gold softgels cbd oil in canada legal whats cbd sacred leaf cbd oil cbd flower sampler cbd 600mg vs 1200mg morgan freeman cbd oil cbd oil not hemp oil cbd oil for tumors cbd oil treatment for ms cbd pure hemp oil amazon lu za cbd oil shops for lease sydney cbd cbd oil increased concentration at work gold nugget cbd cbd oil with flavanoods cbd clinic level 5 side effects

male enhancement reviews 2020 male enhancement pills for penis size male enhancement diet benefits of using penis enlargement maxoderm male enhancement pills that enhance penis size sex enhancement for male topical fruit for penis enlargement male enhancement uses best penis enhancement male enhancement sold walgreens penis enlargement in india big blue men male enhancement nugenix male enhancer hard wood male enhancement cream payfac male enhancement pills penis enlargement injections pro shred supplements list of herbs for penis enlargement vigorexin advanced male enhancement penis enhancement surgery exryt male enhancement pills sildenafil 20 mg tablet cost blue gel pill such a pill penis enlargement testimonials best erection pills gnc top sex pills cialisvirgia drugs inc the fix penis enlargent pills beat it up supplement mens club male enhancement reviews walmart pharmacy male enhancement penis enlargement pills free pink pill e 10 elite male male enhancement permanenet penis enlargement facts viagra pills walmart penis enlargement dayton ohio hotrod male enhancement 19th century sex drive enhancement hard erection pills review pills sex addiction male enhancement pills erorectin ebay gold max sex supplement best herbs for male breast enhancement best rated tablets for 2020 little round blue pill with av on it natural male enhancement pills that work green pills for ed

taste of home keto diet recipes addictive otc weight loss pills diet to build muscle and lose weight sea kelp weight loss tablets stop dieting lose weight weight loss injectable drug how to lose weight quickly without pills weight loss pills bex i need a diet to lose weight fast midwest medical weight loss pills the apple diet for weight loss diet food chart for weight loss side effects of supplements for weight loss activia diet weight loss taco diet weight loss the liquid diet to lose weight average weight loss per week on cambridge diet ultimate weight loss diet in two weeks high fat diet weight loss results top weight loss pills 2020 kevin james weight loss diet what prescription weight loss pills are available how soon does weight loss occur on military diet dr stillman doctors quick weight loss diet does amerihealth nj cover weight loss pills jennifer hudson weight loss supplements how to use cinnamon pills for weight loss low carb diet plan for weight loss cheap weight loss pills that mellissa mccartney used keto diet dinner recipes with ground beef fda effective weight loss pills onnit weight loss supplements weight loss pills tenuate weekly weight loss on keto diet hydroxycut platinum weight loss pills diet coke and weight loss dr nowzardans weight loss diet salad diet plan weight loss average weight loss herbalife diet toddler weight loss diet woman in the 80 weight loss is diet garcinia weight loss pills reviews weight loss diet meal for tonight top weight loss pills supplement no weight loss low calorie diet hcg diet alcohol remarkable results weight loss indian nutritionist diet plan for weight loss different weight loss diets low carb diet for 6 weeks no weight loss weight loss 1200 calorie diet