Declining Iguana Population Signals Trouble

Feb 3, 2013
The Reptile Report
by Robyn

The Reptile Report - Rock iguanas are the largest native land animals in the Caribbean and the Bahamas — and among the most endangered lizards in the world. Ten species inhabit the rugged terrains of popular tropical islands: Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, the Puerto Rican bank, the Caymans, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos.

The real threat to iguanas arrived in the 16th century on European ships: eager and often overzealous human hunters, habitat destruction, and the arrival of pets and livestock. Today, introduced cats, dogs, hogs, goats and even mongoose gobble up iguana food, trample their nests, and even kill adult lizards. Burgeoning human populations and increased tourism damage or destroy iguana habitat. Once abundant, all ten species of rock iguanas are listed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on The IUCN, International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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