- Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas are one of the smallest species of all the Rock Iguanas (Cyclura).
- The Iguanas are mostly found in rocky coppice and sandy strand vegetation habitats, using crumbly soil for nesting. The Iguanas are diurnal and spend the night in burrows that they excavate, or in natural retreats among rocks.
- They are threatened by invasive mammals such as cats, dogs, and rats, habitat alteration and destruction for development, as well as unregulated ecotourism.
- The Iguanas is protected in Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas, with both governments having designated some areas as protected. However, cats and dogs are still present in these areas.
- They are also internationally protected by CITES, the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Regardless the iguanas are still vulnerable to poaching for human consumption and illegal collection for the international pet trade.
- The greatest conservation needs are ongoing efforts to control invasive predators, post-hurricane population assessments, renewed efforts at education and awareness, and continued partnerships with developers to minimize and mitigate habitat destruction.
IIF Grants Received
Rescue and Relocation Program for the Critically Endangered Turks and Caicos Iguana, Cyclura carinata
Tarren Wagener and Glenn Gerber
Investigating Intra-Island Translocation as a Conservation Strategy for the Turks and Caicos Iguana (Cyclura carinata)
Tarren Wagener and Glenn Gerber
This IIF grant aims to document effective intra-island translocation methods by systematically manipulating the sex, age, and time of year moved for 48 subject animals. Outcome measures include corticosterone values, leukocyte profiles, movement patterns and homing tendencies. Results from this study will be integrated into the TCI Iguana Management Plan, and should provide a model for intra-island translocations throughout the Caribbean that support the coexistence of humans and iguanas.
Population Monitoring, Post-Hurricane Impact Assessments, and Reproductive Ecology of the Turks and Caicos Iguana
Glenn Gerber and Mark Welch
This project will provide follow-up monitoring of iguanas translocated from Big Ambergris Cay to Bush Cay in 2008 to assess their survival, growth, and reproduction. Assessment of the possible hurricane impacts on translocated and natural iguana populations due to the severe 2008 hurricane season in the Turks and Caicos Islands will also be made. Finally, a nesting study of the Little Water Cay population will be conducted to collect data on population mating structure pertinent to the conservation and management of iguana populations in the TCI and elsewhere. These initiatives are part of an established conservation and research program for the Turks and Caicos Iguana, now entering its 15th year.
Conservation and Management of the Turks and Caicos Iguana, Cyclura carinata
This project addresses key conservation activities identified in the Turks and Caicos Iguana Conservation and Management Plan including 1) continued monitoring of iguana populations translocated in 2002/2003 to document their progress, 2) conducting iguana population assessments for Little Water, Water, and Pine Cays to serve as a baseline for measuring population recovery rates following a cat eradication scheduled to commence in July 2007 by Island Conservation, and 3) assist Island Conservation’s efforts to ensure resident iguana populations are safeguarded during the cat eradication process.