The Jamaican Iguana Will Soon Have a Permanent Home on Goat Islands

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A hatchling Jamaican Iguana. Photo by Robin Moore, Global Wildlife Conservation Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Jamaican Iguana has escaped and recovered from near extinction. Its newest chapter promises to be its most hopeful yet. Scientists are working to release iguanas on Goat Islands , which were declared a wildlife sanctuary in 2017. Greater Goat Island could become a predator-free haven for Jamaican Iguanas and other endangered species within the next few years. Rediscovery and Recovery The Jamaican Iguana is a large bluish-gray lizard with red eyes. It is one of nearly a dozen rock iguana species found in the Caribbean, but it is endemic to Jamaica. For thousands of years, the iguanas and other reptiles were the largest land animals in Jamaica. When humans introduced non-native mammals to the island in the late 1800s, it marked the beginning of the swift decline of the Jamaican Iguana until it disappeared in the early 1950s. Scientists thought the Jamaican Iguana was extinct for 40 years until it was unexpectedly rediscovered in the Hellshire Hills on Jamaica’s mainland in 1990. Wild adult Jamaican iguana. (Photo by Robin Moore) Ever since, the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group, a team of […]

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