- Thought extinct for nearly half a century, the Jamaican Iguana was rediscovered in the remote Hellshire Hills in 1990 and became the subject of an intensive effort to recover the species. Employing a combination of nest protection, predator control and headstart/release.
- The Jamaican Iguana survives only in the Hellshire Hills, a rugged limestone area with suitable dry forest habitat. Although suitable vegetation still exists, extensive surveying has not located iguanas far from the central core protected zone.
- They are threatened by invasive predators, such as mongooses, cats, stray dogs, Mongooses are very common throughout the Hellshire Hills and observations show they prey on juveniles and eggs.
- The Hellshire Hills is currently part of the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA). Declared in 1999, the PBPA is Jamaica’s largest protected area and includes both of the Goat Islands.
- Through the headstart facility at the Hope Zoo Kingston to date over 468 Jamaican Iguanas have been released into the wild!
- The Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable conservation success stories.
Jamaican Rock Iguana
IIF Grants Received
Enhancing the Hope Zoo Headstart Program for the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei)
Increasing the Effectiveness and Output of Two Cyclura Headstart Programs Through Increased Oversight, (Cyclura collei and Cyclura pinguis)
Michael Fouraker and Kelly Bradley
The IIF has provided funding for headstart programs for the Jamaican (C. collei) and the Anegada Iguana (C. pinguis) since 2003. Headstarting hatchling iguanas provides them with protected growth time until they are large enough to avoid predation whereby they have a higher rate of survival following release. Increased oversight will address some of the lingering issues that have reduced the effectiveness of these program historically. It is the goal of this grant to increase the number of animals available for release by 30-50% by shortening their time in captivity and improving their growth rates and survival.
Core Support for the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) Recovery Program
Production of the Jamaican iguana Species Recovery Plan Document
Jamaica Iguana Recovery Program
Provides funding to continue this long-running field program and ensures that the primary field biologist, Rick Van Veen, remains on salary and working in Hellshire. Rick’s ongoing conservation activities include predator control, protection of nesting sites, research on ecology and habitat requirements of the iguana, monitoring released iguanas, (16 in 2005) and radio-tracking hatchling iguanas.
Conservation of the Critically Endangered Jamaican Iguana, Cyclura collei
Peter Vogel and Byron Wilson
Jamaican Iguana Conservation and Recovery Program
Funding for this ongoing field program will provide annual operating costs for the recovery efforts including protection of nest sites, monitoring of nesting females, collection of hatchlings for headstarting, and continued surveys and monitoring of the Hellshire Hills. These funds were held over from 2002.
Conservation of the Jamaican iguana
Peter Vogel and Byron Wilson
$15,000 + $6,500
A $15,000 IIF grant was awarded to Peter Vogel and the Jamaican Iguana Conservation and Research Group for yearly operating expenses for the ongoing field research and recovery program. Previously in 2002 the IIF had awarded $6,500 to Byron Wilson of the Jamaican Iguana Conservation and Research Group to continue his ongoing assessment, now in its 5th year, of the mongoose removal program in the Hellshire Hills.