National Park Proposed
Staff from the Dallas, San Diego, and Fort Worth Zoos have worked closely with the BVINPT to save this unique species. The first goal was to document the location of the remaining population and key nesting sites. The second objective was to monitor the first iguanas released from the headstart facility. The team confirmed long-term survival of headstarted iguanas and determined that iguanas as small as 400 grams could survive in the wild with feral cats. This key result reduced the time individuals spend in captivity and maximized the number of iguanas brought through the facility each year. To date over 120 headstarted iguanas have been released back to the wild, with two year survivorship estimated at ~85%. The third objective was to compile a database of all known iguana retreats. Each year, surveys are conducted to verify the activity status of each retreat as well as to locate new retreats. This past year a new burrow-scope was used to document the structure and ecology of the burrows.
Finally, in 2006 Island Conservation joined the project and created a mammal eradication plan for Anegada. However this plan will be extremely costly to implement and it could be years before the funds become available.
A highly celebrated and long-awaited accomplishment is the recent passage of a proposed national park by the BVI Cabinet. The park’s ultimate passage in the House of Assembly in 2009 will create a protected area on Anegada that encompasses the core iguana area located around the western ponds. The establishment of this National Park will provide much needed protection for all of the currently known iguana retreats and all but one key nesting site. The Anegada National Park is 27 years in the making and represents what can be accomplished for conservation by in-country and international partnerships. The ISG contributed key data used to assess the area and outline its boundaries. The ISG, BVINPT, and the IIF look forward to the final realization of this national park – considered to be one of the most important actions that can occur to save the Anegada Iguana.