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Seeker Video: Galápagos Land Iguanas Return to Santiago Island After a 180 Year Absence

Seeker video features the Directorate of Galápagos National Park and Island Conservation in the re-introduction of Galápagos Land Iguanas to Santiago Island.

For the first time in 180 years, Galápagos Land Iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus) have returned to Santiago Island thanks to a conservation intervention by the Directorate of Galápagos National Park, Island Conservation, and Massey University in New Zealand. Seeker features the release of 1, 436 iguanas in a new video.


Galápagos Land Iguanas once roamed Santiago Island and fed on native cactus and other vegetation. In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the island and described iguanas so abundant that he had trouble finding a place to pitch a tent. Three years later, Abel du Petit-Thouars became the last person to record iguanas on the island.

Decades later, when researchers from the California Academy of Sciences visited Santiago they found only skeletal remains. Introduced feral pigs had wiped out the Galápagos Land Iguana population by destroying the native landscape and out-competing iguanas for food.

In the early 2000s, Santiago Island (58,465 ha / 144,470 acres) became the largest island in the world to be freed of invasive feral pigs, goats, and donkeys. This and other restoration efforts helped spur the reintroduction of locally extinct species including the Galápagos Land Iguana.

Watch the Seeker video to learn more about the project.
Featured photo: Galápagos Land Iguana on a rock. Credit: Island Conservation

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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