Island Conservation science

Protecting the Dominican Republic’s Native Species

The day April 09, 2015 was monumental for native plants and animals in the Dominican Republic – they just didn’t know it.

On this day, Island Conservation and the (Ministry) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support island restoration through the removal of invasive vertebrates in the Dominican Republic. This is a considerable achievement and the result of more than two years of close collaboration with the Ministry working together to plan and restore the islands of Cabritos and Alto Velo in the Dominican Republic.


Through this agreement, the partners will identify and prioritize islands in the Dominican Republic for restoration where native plants and animals are most threatened by invasive vertebrates. We are also working together to secure funding and partner support for these projects and ensure compliance with all legal requirements for island restoration projects in the region.

With the Ministry, the Hispaniolan Ornithological Society, Grupo Jaragua, and CABI, we’ve been working on Cabritos Island to protect two species of iguana found only on the island of Hispaniola (which comprise the countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti): the IUCN[1] Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana and Vulnerable Rhinoceros Iguana. Invasive species present on the island, including invasive cats and burros, threaten iguana populations by eating their young, destroying iguana nests, and damaging critical habitat. The removal of these invasive species will protect the iguana populations from the threat of extinction, particularly the Ricord’s Iguana, and provide the opportunity for the island’s natural ecosystem to recover.

The MOU was signed in the Dominican Republic by Dr. Bautista Rojas Gómez, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, and William Waldman, Chief Executive Officer of Island Conservation.

[1] As listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

About Bill Waldman

Bill was selected as executive director of Island Conservation in July 2008. Prior to joining Island Conservation, Bill had a thirty-year career as a nonprofit leader, including twenty-three years with The Nature Conservancy.

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