Grand Cayman’s Blue Iguana
In 2002, it is estimated that fewer than 25 blue iguanas remained in the wild. Today, this once critically endangered species now numbers around 750, thanks to the efforts of Fred Burton and the Blue Iguana Recovery Program (BIRP).
While our namesake is still a rare and stunning sight here on the Island, the Blue Iguana is making a comeback, having been downlisted from the “critically endangered” list to the “endangered” list.
Mr. Burton’s conservation efforts continue to take place first at his home office, where he set up incubators to hatch blue iguana eggs. After two months of incubation, the hatched baby blue iguanas are sent to a conservation facility in the Cayman Islands’ Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
The reason blue iguanas initially began to die off – and a factor that will continue to affect the population – is Grand Cayman’s population of non-native predators, such as dogs and cats, as well as human development such as roads and cars. Additionally, the non-native green iguanas have the potential to be harmful to the survival of the native blue iguana population.
For more information, visit the Blue Iguana Recovery Program website at www.blueiguana.ky and sign up to work as a volunteer. Check out the program’s Facebook page to get up-to-date news and information about the Cayman Islands’ native blue iguanas.
National Geographic Voices
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