Cyclura ricordii

Ricord’s Rock Iguana

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Stats

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Range: Southwestern Dominican Republic and southeastern Haiti
Population: Estimated to be likely < 2500
Size: Up to 18″ snout to vent length and 10.8 pounds
Threats: Habitat destruction; Introduced predators; Over-exploitation for local consumption.

Species Information

  • Ricord’s Rock Iguanas are an Endangered species endemic to the island of Hispaniola, occurring in the Dominican Republic and one location in Haiti.
  • The iguanas inhabit the most arid regions in the south-central part of Hispaniola and are strongly associated with tropical dry forests and shrubland.
  • They are threatened by illegal poaching for food, Non-native species such as feral cats, dogs, mongoose and pigs which pose a predation risk, while herbivores such as cows and goats are competitors for food sources. Habitat is often destroyed due to charcoal production, as well as development for tourism, land conversion for agriculture, and mining.
  • In the Dominican Republic they are protected from trade in international wildlife by CITES however this is not the case in Haiti. Within the Dominican Republic iguanas are protected by wildlife legislation although enforcement is lacking, in Haiti the status of protective legislation is uncertain.
  • A local non-governmental organization, Grupo Jaragua, manages conservation efforts for Rhinoceros iguanas in the Dominican Republic. These include habitat monitoring and restoration, outreach and education, and land acquisition. Recommended conservation measures are better law enforcement and the development of an island-wide conservation management plan.

IIF Grants Received

Integrated Conservation of Ricord’s Iguana (Cyclura ricordii)

Ernst Rupp and Grupo Jaragua

$12,000

Understanding Interspecific Interactions between Cyclura ricordii and Cyclura cornuta south of Lago Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic

Chris Pellechia

$7,785

Strengthening Conservation Actions for Ricord’s Iguana, Cyclura ricordii, in the Dominican Republic

Ernst Rupp and Grupo Jaragua

$12,000

Husbandry and Education Capacity Building to Support Cyclura Conservation in the Dominican Republic

Rosanna Carreras De Leon and Stesha Pasachnik

$6,330

Advancing Conservation of Ricord´s Iguana (Cyclura ricordii)

Ernst Rupp

$12,000

Monitoring of Critical Habitat for Ricord’s Iguana and Restoration of Degraded Areas in the Dominican Republic

Ernst Rupp

$12,000 (Total project budget $41,980)

Recovery of the Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana through Invasive Species Removal


Jorge Brocca

$5,200

Supporting Local Communities of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in Conserving Populations of Ricord’s Iguanas

Ernst Rupp and Masani Accimé

$13,600

Core Support Funding for Ricord’s Iguanas in Haiti and the Domincan Republic

Masani Accimé and Ernst Rupp

$20,000

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. 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. This project will contribute to the ongoing task of implementing priority actions from the Ricord’s Iguana Species Recovery Plan, in order to ensure the survival of C. ricordi throughout their remaining natural range. It will support the protection, maintenance and restoration of native habitats and will enhance local community-based management of wild Ricord’s Iguana populations. The project will further institute long-term education and awareness programs to ensure support from local and international communities.

Core Support: Implementation of Species Recovery Plan Activities for the Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana in the Dominican Republic and Haiti – a Bi-National Program

Ernst Rupp and Masani Accimé

$20,000

This project will contribute to the ongoing task of implementing priority actions from the Ricord’s Iguana Species Recovery Plan, in order to ensure the survival of C. ricordii throughout their remaining natural range, primarily the Dominican Republic. It will support the protection, maintenance, and restoration of native habitats and will enhance local community-based management of wild Ricord’s Iguana populations. The project will further institute long-term education and awareness programs to ensure support from local and international communities.

Investigation of Socioeconomic and Cultural Issues Affecting C. ricordii Populations in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti, with a Comparative Study in Pedernales, Dominican Republic

Masani Accimé (Grupo Jaragua)

$11,620

Understanding the core issues directly pertaining to the relationship between humans and iguanas in Anse-à-Pitres is vital to the long-term efforts for the conservation of C. ricordii. Inherently, Haitians, and inhabitants of the Caribbean in general, are culturally inclined to fear wildlife. They are known to be particularly herpetophobic. Haitians consider these animals to be very threatening. The economic value of iguanas as a food source is also an important aspect. Investigating the different causes of habitat destruction, such as tree cutting for charcoal production and farming practices, is also very crucial to the conservation of the species. Describing all the factors affecting the human/iguana relationship in this early stage of conservation in Anse-à-Pitres will serve as a platform for future alternatives and solutions for the betterment of local residents’ livelihood, successful species recovery, and environmental protection.

New Conservation Measures for Ricord’s Iguanas (Cyclura ricordii) in Haiti and Continuation of Conservation Activities in the Dominican Republic

Grupo Jaragua

$7,120

Estimation of Ricord’s Iguana, Population Densities and Reproduction, and Implementation of Conservation Measures in the Pedernales Province, Neiba Valley (Dominican Republic), and Anse-à-Pitres (Haiti)

Sixto Inchaustegui, Yvonne Arias, and Ernst Rupp

$11,000

This project seeks to complement the basic information needed to implement adequate management measures for the conservation of this species and to integrate local governments and local support groups into the conservation program. Population density studies will be implemented and reproduction will be monitored in the Pedernales, Anse-à-Pitres, and Enriquillo Valley regions.

Supplementary Award: Ricord’s Iguana Population Survey on the South Shore of Lake Enriquillo, Dominican Republic

Ernst Rupp (Grupo Jaragua)

$3,000

In response to mounting political pressure to convert this area to agriculture, there is an immediate need to document the actual extent of the iguana population and the estimated impact of the proposed habitat conversion. The south shore of Lake Enriquillo supports a major population of Ricord’s Iguana but do not have legal protective status at present. Imminent conservation measures need to be implemented to protect this area. Subsequent to the Board meeting, this $3,000 emergency request was awarded.

Cyclura ricordii Population and Habitat Surveys in the Pedernales Province of the Dominican Republic

Sixto Inchaustegui

$11,000

This project will conduct field surveys on one of the two known subpopulations of the Critically Endangered Ricord’s Iguana in the Jaragua, El Guano-Cabo Rojo-Pedernales, region that includes Parque Nacional Jaragua. This area encompasses 46,900 hectares, much of it potential habitat for C. ricordii. This project was one of the primary recommendations from the C. ricordii Species Recovery Plan workshop conducted in November 2002. The other subpopulation, Isla Cabritos, is better known and is being surveyed using funding from the Indianapolis Zoo.