Blue Iguana Recovery Program - Saving an Endangered Species

Saving and Endangered Speies

January 24, 2010

In addition to helping humans in need, charity also includes helping animals as well.

Obviously humans come first but, in wealthier societies like ours, we can also afford to help animals as well.

In addition to aiding abandoned and stray pets along with other, domestic and wild, animals in distress, help includes trying to save species that are faced with extinction.

The Blue Iguana found on Grand Cayman Island is one such sub-species that is unique and is endangered.  These iguanas are found only on the the island of Gran Cayman in the Caribbean.

As recently as 2002 the numbers of Blue Iguanas in the wild had dwindled to a mere 10 to 25.

A Blue Iguana

Blue Iguana Recovery Program

However, thanks to the Blue Iguana Recovery Program run by the Cayman Islands National Trust, the number of Blue Iguanas living in the wild had increased to almost 300 thanks to their releases of young born in their captive breeding programs.

The National Trust is a statutory non-profit organization that relies on both public and private funds along with the efforts of volunteers in helping to advance its mission of preserving the natural and historic environment of the Cayman Islands.

Dalilah the  Blue Iguana
Dalilah the Blue Iguana
A green iguana in jungle in Costa Rica
A green iguana in jungle in Costa Rica

Green Iguanas and Lesser Antillian Iguanas

Iguana's are a type of lizard that is native to the New World and is found in the tropics of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In recent years iguanas can also be found in zoos, pet shops and homes in North America as well.

According to WikiPedia the genus Iguana is subdivided into two species, the common Green Iguana and the rarer Lesser Antillian Iguana.

The Green Iguana is found throughout their entire habitat including North America where they are popular pets. The Lesser Antillian Iguana is native to the Caribbean and are only found in the Caribbean area and in zoo breeding programs.

While endangered, the Lesser Antillian Iguanas are found in greater numbers than the Blue Iguana and their habitat extends over a number of islands in the Antillies group.

The Blue Iguana is actually a Lesser Antillian Iguana that has developed separately from the rest of the group which resulted in it having developed some different characteristics over time. However, it remains closely related to other Lesser Antillian Iguanas and interbreeds with them.

The Turtle Farm at Boatswains Beach

I was familiar with green iguanas having seen pictures of them as well as having seen a few in zoos.

Years ago, we actually owned one for a few weeks a number of years ago when my son saved his money and brought one as as pet. He soon lost interest in it and sold it to a friend.

But I had never heard of Blue Iguanas until my wife and I arrived in Grand Cayman on a recent cruise. Having heard about the Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm from friends on the ship, we made plans to visit it and, when we arrived discovered that, in addition to turtles, the farm included other tropical creatures.

A Blue Iguana Named Dalilah

Originally started in 1968 as Mariculture, Ltd. by a group of investors from the U.S. and the United Kingdom with the intention of breeding and raising turtles with the intent of selling the meat and other products to markets in North America and European.

However, changes in laws in the U.S and some other nations restricting the sale of turtle products resulted in Mariculture, Ltd. going out of business and being taken over by a German group that attempted to operate it as a non-profit conservation organization.

Again, the venture proved not to be viable financially and was eventually purchased by the Cayman Islands government and is now operated as a private non-profit company supplying turtle products for the local market and breeding additional turtles for release in order to build the wild population.

While turtles are still the primary focus of the Cayman Turtle Farm, Ltd. is still turtles, additional local wildlife were added including participating with the Cayman Islands National Trust Blue Iguana breeding program and it was here that we got to see a Blue Iguana.

The day we visited only one Blue Iguana, a female named Delilah, was on display. Because Blue Iguanas are very territorial and prefer to live a solitary life except when breeding, Delilah was in the display area alone as putting another Blue Iguana in with her would have resulted in a fight.

Thanks to Donors and Volunteers Blue Iguanas May Be Around for Future Generations

Thanks to the efforts of the Cayman Islands National Trust and organizations like the Cayman Turtle Farm at Boatswains Beach, along with the support of contributors and volunteers who assist the National Trust in this effort, the Blue Iguana is slowly making a comeback on Grand Cayman (the only place where it lives) and may not become extinct thereby allowing future generations to view and enjoy this manginficant creature.

Entrance to Turtle Farm at Boatswains Beach
Entrance to Turtle Farm at Boatswains Beach
Dalilah in her pen.
Dalilah in her pen.
Blue Iguana Information
Blue Iguana Information
Dalilah in her private pen
Dalilah in her private pen
Watch out they bite!
Watch out they bite!

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Comments 14 comments

Waldo 4 years ago

ive seen tons of cayman iguanas in central america mostly in costa rica


Chuck profile image

Chuck 6 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

cardonations - the Boatswains Beach Turtle Farm does have a breed and release program for the blue iguanas. It is described in the picture of the sign which is the third from the bottom in the column of photos above.


cardonations 6 years ago

Looks like you put a lot of work into this hub. Some good iguana photos. I didn't see any thing about a breading program. Is there one?


ananpanha profile image

ananpanha 6 years ago

Best Wish

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mpurcell10 profile image

mpurcell10 6 years ago from Arkansas

I wish as a whole we took more care in saving what we have before it is gone and we miss it and wish we had cared. Animals are gifts we should care about. Thank you!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

The iguanas are good-looking in a prehistoric way. Thanks for a very interesting hub.


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Wow, the Blue Iguana is very nice looking, thanks for your hub, I agree that helping animals in need is a very worthwhile charitable activity. Thanks Chuck for your wisdom in this.


cupid51 profile image

cupid51 6 years ago from INDIA

Very informative hub. The pictures are also very good. Thanks for the concern you have shown to the animals whose existence are in danger.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

What a beautiful animal, there seems to be more and more animals that are disappearing due to humans reckless behavour...Great hub


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I get new information here. We have to take care this animal. I never see it directly. I think iguana is cute animal.


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

Yes, very god hub on Iguanas. Id' like to see more efforts to preserve species, for one the polar bear but that is probably due to numnerous blunders by mankind oil spills, greenhouse gases and more, less fish for them to eat, and obviously the glaciers melting.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Great hub. My daughter and son-in-law were chased by an Iguana on their honeymoon!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Chuck, Good hub on iguanas and even the turtles. I have been to the Cayman Islands twice and it was really fun to visit and see them. We took the submarine down one time and you can see the turtles swimming all around with all the colorful fish. It is an interesting and beautiful place.


amulets profile image

amulets 6 years ago from Singapore

Great hub on Iguana. I have never seen such big Iguana over here in Singapore. I guess it is about time people start to think about all those endangered species and stop killing them.

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