Jamaican iguanas

Source text and photo: Evert Henningheim, Dutch Iguana Foundation
From Evert Henningheim of the Dutch Iguana Foundation we received an interesting report on the world's most endangered lizard species, the Jamaican iguana. The report describes the health screening and release of a group of hatchlings.
The Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collei) is now present in only a very small area in Jamaica. Various factors threaten this iguana species: the illegal felling of trees for the production of charcoal in their forest habitat, and the presence of stray dogs and cats, wild pigs, and mongooses. Since 1996, a rearing facility in Kingston, Jamaica’s Hope Zoo has provided a protected, controlled environment in which juvenile iguanas can mature. After a health screening the animals can be released. In April of 2013 a group of 52 animals was approved for release into the wild. As the wild population numbers only 200 individuals, this represents an enormous increase. An additional cause for celebration was that the April group included the 200th animal released—a wonderful milestone for the health screen team. The members of the team are Tandora Grant (San Diego Zoo), Carlos Sanchez (Fort Worth Zoo), Sherri Hughes (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute), en Evert Henningheim (Dutch Iguana Foundation).