National Trust releases 1,000th blue iguana

| 30/07/2018 | 1 Comment
CNS Local Life

Fred Burton, manager of the terrestrial resources unit of the Department of Environment, releases Renegade into the wild.

(CNS Local Life): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands released the 1,000th blue iguana into the wild under its recovery programme. “Renegade” was one of 10 iguanas set free at the Collier’s Wilderness Reserve on Tuesday, 23 July, after being given a head start at the Trust’s specialist breeding unit at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

The released blue iguanas, including Renegade, were microchipped and fitted with colourful bead markers for future identification purposes, a Trust press release said.

The latest release signified “a valuable addition to the recovery efforts for these once critically endangered animals”, the Trust said, adding, “It has taken many years of labour and dedication to finally reach this milestone of 1,000.”

With this achievement, the focus of the programme now shifts to the future of preserving the blue iguanas through further sustained releases and with an increased focus on the monitoring of the wild population, the release stated.

About 50 more releases are planned for this year and coupled with “mounting evidence that the wild population are actively breeding”, the Trust said the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and its partners “can finally rest a bit more comfortably knowing that these unique reptiles are no longer teetering on the brink of extinction”. However, the iguanas remain on the endangered list and new threats continue to emerge that require constant vigilance.

The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is moving into phase two with more funding needed for research to ensure genetic diversity is maintained, which is essential for the survival of this species in the wild.

There are also several iguanas that due to old age, injury or other health reasons will never be able to be released, the Trust said, so it is working hard to ensure their living conditions are as natural and as safe as possible.

The Trust added that while the programme was “very proud to have bred and raised such a robust and healthy animal” as Renegade, the release of the iguana, which was decades in the making, was dependent on the help of hundreds of people and numerous organisations.

To donate to the programme or to sponsor and name an individual iguana, call 749-1121 or go to the National Trust website

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Category: Environment

Comments (1)

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  1. Kadafe says:

    Thank you to all involved in this program over the years for your effort in saving this beautiful and unique animal from extinction.

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