Cyclura pinguis

Rock Iguana


IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Range: British Virgin Islands
Population: 200-300
Size: Males up to 22” in length from snout to vent, with a longer tail
Threats: Predation by feral domestic cats and dogs; Habitat degradation from free-ranging cattle, donkeys, and goats that trample nest sites and severely overgraze native vegetation; Land clearing
  • Although this species used to occupy islands across the entire Puerto Rico Bank, it has been restricted to the island of Anegada since dense human settlement in the Caribbean.
  • Iguanas have been in serious decline since the 1960s, due to pressures from feral domestic animals and now occupies only a small portion of the island. Cats in particular kill nearly all hatchlings and juveniles, resulting in a population of predominantly aging adult iguanas.
  • In 1997, conservation efforts to save the species increased with the construction of a headstart facility on Anegada. As a part of the headstart program, researchers conduct an extensive survey of the island for nest sites in July. The sites are marked and during the hatching months, research teams return to collect hatchlings as they emerge and transport them to the headstart facility.
  • An annual Iguana Festival coinciding with the release of headstarted iguanas was created in October 2012 to serve as the program’s main outreach activity. The event is an island ecology celebration and learning experience centred on the Anegada Rock Iguana.
  • A Species Recovery Plan was first developed in 2006, updated in 2010, and revised again in 2019. One of the recent actions planned for 2020 is to conduct a thorough population and genetic sampling survey of the unauthorized introduced island subpopulations.