Project Description

SANTIAGO ISLAND

GALÁPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, ECUADOR

Galapagos-land-iguana-return-santiago-island
Galápagos Land Iguana on Santiago. Credit: Andrew Wright

Being on Santiago Island and releasing the iguanas was an indescribable experience. We were among the first to see Galápagos Land Iguanas on the island since Darwin. It was as if we had stepped back in time and we could see the island as it should be.

PAULA CASTAÑO
Island Restoration Specialist

When the opportunity arose to reintroduce Galápagos Land Iguanas to Santiago Island, Island Conservation and our partners were determined to see it through.

It had been almost 180 years since invasive goats, pigs, and donkeys drove native iguanas on Santiago locally extinct. With these invasive species gone, iguanas could be reintroduced.

“Our work on Seymour Norte Island gave us an opportunity to further the restoration of Santiago by reintroducing Galápagos Land Iguanas, which serve as a keystone species and have been missing for almost two centuries,” explained Castaño.

Working with leading experts, our team developed a plan to take iguanas from an introduced population on Seymour Norte and reintroduce them to Santiago. Today, for the first time since Darwin visited, more than 2,000 Galápagos Land Iguanas roam Santiago Island and no longer face the threat of food shortages due to competition with invasive species as they once did on Seymour Norte Island.

blue-footed-booby-colony-santiago-island
Blue-footed Booby rests atop a rock.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SANTIAGO