Conservation Program Specialist
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Tandora Grant has been working in iguana conservation and research since the mid-1990s with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, where she currently serves as a Conservation Program Specialist. She has worked with species on many Caribbean islands and continues to be a key partner in recovery programs for the Jamaican Iguana and Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, which incorporate strategies that include captive breeding, headstarting, and reintroduction.
Tandora is the Program Officer and Red List Authority for the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group. In this role, she coordinates the creation and revision of assessments for 45 species of iguanas on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The collated information on threats, research needs, and conservation status is used to create national and international laws, draw attention to global conservation needs, and enhance protection efforts. For the specialist group, she maintains the website, edits the newsletter, coordinates membership activities, and has helped to produce many species conservation action plans.
Tandora also serves as AZA SSP Coordinator and Population Management Advisor for the Jamaican Rock Iguana and Grand Cayman Blue Iguana programs. Having developed studbooks for these species, she evaluates genetic and demographic statistics to determine captive breeding pairs and wild release candidates. She incorporates molecular data in order to further define the fitness of reintroduced populations and guide management actions. For United States zoo populations, the focus is on long-term sustainability of genetic diversity, and promoting education, awareness, and support for the ongoing recovery efforts for wild iguanas.
In addition to iguanas, Tandora’s projects have included recovery efforts for the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike and ecology of the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard. She is an author of more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, including Science, and over 40 technical reports and popular publications. Tandora earned her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. She enjoys rock climbing, the arts, and hiking trails with her dogs.