Iguana Foundation

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Ricord's Iguana Project

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  • Status: Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List with only 2,000-4,000 individuals in the wild
  • Major threats: Hunting and land conversion
  • IIF Milestones:
    • Confirmation of the existence of Ricord’s iguana in Haiti where they were previously thought to be extinct
    • 2009 Ricord’s biology workshop
    • Socioeconomic study conducted in Anse-a-Pitres, Haiti on the human impact on Ricord's iguanas in 2009
    • Foundation purchased 20 hectares (49 acres) of land in Perdenales, Domincan Republic.
  • What still needs to be done:
    • Education and outreach in the community
    • Purchase of land and/or municipally protected habitat in Haiti
    • Additional monitoring to ensure protection of iguanas and nesting habitat

The International Iguana Foundation (IIF) provides core support funding to assist in the conservation of Ricord’s iguanas (Cyclura ricordi) in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  C. ricordi is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.  With only 2,000-4,000 individuals estimated to be in the wild and less than 100km2 of native habitat left, the Ricord’s iguana is one of the IIF’s priority projects.  There are 4 known subpopulations of C. ricordi, 3 located in the Dominican Republic and only 1 in Haiti, left in the wild.  The Ricord’s iguana project includes population monitoring, outreach and education work, and land protection.  Major threats to this species include hunting and land conversion for agriculture and charcoal production.  The IIF realizes that a constant presence in the field is the key to deterring hunters from harvesting this endangered species and protecting nesting sites.  Loss of nesting habitat is a key factor in the decline of Ricord’s iguanas.  In order to sustain this population, critical nesting areas must be protected.  The IIF hopes to purchase additional land to provide sanctuaries for wild iguanas, however funding is needed.  You can help us by making a donation to the IIF using the donation portal on this page.

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In 2009, researchers held a Ricord’s biology workshop to teach local groups assisting with Ricord’s monitoring about safe capture, marking techniques, and data collection methods associated with research.  During this time, the presence of Ricord’s iguana in Anes-a-Pitres, Haiti was confirmed.  This is the only population of known to exist in the country of Haiti.  Researchers Masani Accime and Ernst Rupp have since been working on a public awareness campaign in Haiti to protect this species including the development of educational materials, public discussions, and government meetings regarding land protection.  If the proposal to create a Municipally Protected Habitat is successful, it will be the first of its kind in Haiti.  Research on the human impacts in Haiti has helped to stop detrimental development of Ricord’s habitat in Anse-a-Pitres and create community involvement to save this fragile population of iguanas.

Newslandpurch1JPGIn 2010 the International Iguana Foundation purchased 20 hectares (49 acres) of land in Pedernales, Domincan Republic.  This area, known as Fonda de la Tierra, provides critical nesting habitat for the Ricord’s iguana with 140 active nests surveyed in 2010.  Purchase of this land allows for better monitoring and protection of the Perdenales subpopulation where predation by feral animals, illegal land occupation, and threats of development has historically been an issue.  In 2012 additional land was acquired by the IIF / GJ, bringing the total property under management for iguana conservation to 29 hectares or 69.5 acres.
The purchase and use of camera traps, which take video recordings of dens and nesting sites, have also been beneficial in the study of iguana movement and predation.

The future protection of these magnificent species can be furthered by your donation.

 Please click here to make a contribution to the IIF and help save this species and others from extinction. 

 For more information on Ricord’s iguana, please go to our species page.     

Message from our research team:  "Ricord’s iguanas have survived in Haiti under incredibly difficult odds, and working to conserve the last remaining subpopulation has been an extraordinary experience. I am constantly inspired by youth whose families struggle daily to meet basic needs, but yet they dare to challenge their community on a topic that is unheard of in Haiti: wildlife conservation.  The youth in this small Haitian town are offering the local population in Anse-a-Pitres a rare experience by active support for species conservation.   And the response from their peers and elders is very positive."

- Masani Accime, Ricord's researcher

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Left: Grupo Jaragua members examining iguana burrows.  Groupo Jaragua is the leading conservation NGO in the DR with a long-history of research and protective actions for the critically endangered Ricord’s iguana.  A similar organization, OJAA  exists in Haiti.  Together our researchers and these NGOs are working to ensure the survival of this species. 

 

 

 

 

The IIF would like to thank the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Mohammed bin Zayed, and USFWS Wildlife Without Borders grant program for funding support.