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Iguana Specialist Group
Volume 8 * Number 2 * Winter 2005
ISG Meeting Minutes
November 6-7, 2005
South Andros, Bahamas
Welcome and Introduction - Alberts & Hudson
Thanks were expressed to Chuck Knapp (Univ. of Florida/Shedd Aquarium),
Sandra Buckner, and the Bahamas National Trust for the extensive planning and
organization of a successful ISG meeting and Species Mlanagemenr Workshop
for the Andros Island iguana. Special thanks also belong to Mike and Petagay
Hartman, of Taimo Resort, for the fabulous accommodation, gourmet food,
deeply discounted rate, and warm welcome. It was a truly wonderful meeting
that was enjoyed by all.
�.... " .......
Left to Right: Rick Hudson, Peter Tolson, Kirsten Hines, Steve Conners, John Binns,
Stesha Pasachnik, Joe Burgess, Quentin Bloxam, Ricardo Johnson, JeffLemm, Byron
Wilson, Karen Graham, John Iverson, Allison Alberts, Catherine Stephen, Bruce
Weissgold, Miguel Garcia, Jan Ramer, Fred Burton, Tandora Grant, Samantanha Addinll.
Tarren Wagener, Joe Wasilewski, Sandra Buckner, and Chuck Knapp.
GRAND CAYMAN - Burton
Blue Iguana Recovery Program Update. Fred Burton
(National Trust for the Cayman Islands).
It is now 14 months since hurricane Ivan, a category
4-5 hurricane, tracked along the south coast of Grand
Cayman causing catastrophic damage to human prop-
erty and livelihoods, and delivering dramatic impacts
to natural environments. Aerial photographs eight
months after the storm show the island's once extensive
Black Mangrove forests shattered and scarcely begin-
ning recovery, while the dry forests are beginning to
regenerate a closed canopy despite extensive tree fall.
The xerophytic shrubland communities which are
habitat to the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana were only
lightly impacted, and appear fully recovered. The cap-
tive breeding and head-starting facility for the Grand
Cayman Blue Iguanas, in the QEII Botanic Park, is
now fully restored and has been further expanded and
enhanced since the hurricane.
Twenty-three two year-old Cyclura lewisi, originally
slated for release at the time the hurricane struck, were
finally released in December 2005, and were radio-
tracked with assistance from a team of international
volunteers for two months after release (December
2004-January 2005), and for a further two months
over May and June 2005. After a period of weight loss
immediately post-release, the iguanas established home
ranges and foraging patterns which were characterized
in the summer tracking period. Survival over the first
seven months was at least 91%.
Summer usage areas of females was 0.6 acres, surpris-
ingly similar to summer usage areas determined by
Goodman, et al., for larger mature free-roaming females
in the QEII Botanic Park, and a single wild adult female
tracked by the program in summer 2005. The released
males in the Salina Reserve occupied an average of 1.4
acres each, with much more extensive overlap in usage
areas. Spacine and overlap of the usage areas indicates
the iguanas chose to maintain a population density of
4-5 iguanas per hectare, in this unnatural setting of a
single age class surrounded by unpopulated habitat. A
second release, of 70 individuals, is scheduled for De-
cember 2005, into the same areas currently occupied.
This release will bring the restored population in the
Salina Reserve to approx. 91 individuals, with repre-
sentation from ten different founder lines. Subsequent
releases will require access to the Salina's southernmost
The studbook continues to be maintained to a high
standard by Tandora Grant (San Diego Zoo/CRES),
and is now informing the program's release strategy with
a goal to reach representation by at least 20 different
founder lines in each restored subpopulation by the time
each reaches its anticipated carrying capacity. Progress
to date is on target towards this goal. Three new found-
ers bred in captivity for the first time in 2005.
A high infertility rate was observed in nests laid in the
southern sector of the QEII Botanic Park, where a
new dominant male had taken over a territory of five
females, four of which were his siblings. As a result of
this unusual infertility, only 92 eggs were initially viable
from a total of 166 eggs laid in both the captive and
free-roaming populations. The dominant Park male
was taken back into captivity to allow unrelated males
to claim this territory for the 2006 breeding season.
One hundred new hatchling cages were prefabricated
and flat-packed in the USA as the result of a three-
month IRCF campaign to secure funds and a manu-
facturer capable of a customized design in time for the
August hatch. They were subsequently assembled in
Grand Cayman by volunteers from the Rotary Club of
Grand Cayman Central. These lightweight cages are
holding the 2005 hatch until the next iguana release
in December frees up cage space at the facility. Again
with IRCF, assistance funds are currently being sought
to complete a security fence around the facility, which
will also serve to secure tour income to the program.
A custom non-profit company, Tours for Nature Ltd.,
has been formed and has secured a contract with Royal
Caribbean Cruise lines and Celebrity Cruises to operate
cruise passenger tours to the Blue Iguana facility wirh all
profits going to the program. Tours are now operational
and are expected to generate useful revenue for the first
time in the coming winter tourist season. Tours are
also being expanded to cater for on-island bookings
for guests at major hotels.
The program is collaborating with the Fort Worth Zoo
in a project to characterize the physical, climatic, and
dietary environment in the successful captive breed-
ing facility on Grand Cayman, and to compare this to
enclosures at Gladys Porter (Brownsville, Texas) and
Indianapolis Zoos, where captive breeding has been
less successful to date. Results are intended to guide
ex-situ captive managers to hopefully improve breeding
success, which is currency one constraint on achieving
ex-situ population goals for this species.
The first Species Recovery Plan for C lewisi (2001-
2005) has now run its course. Achievements were re-
viewed and a new plan developed in a workshop hosted
by the Grand Caymanian Resort on Grand Cayman
in September 2005. Local participants represented the
B I RP's staff, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands,
and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment.
Visiting participants came from Durrell Wildlife Con-
servation Trust, San Diego Zoo, ISG?IIF, and IRCE
The workshop was facilitated by Simon Hicks.
Review of the 2001-5 plan shows the protected area
goals were substantially not met, but that all other goals
in the plan (population restocking, captive breeding,
education and awareness, and resource development)
have been met and in some cases surpassed. Over the
period 2002-5, while the Blue Iguana Recovery Pro-
gram has been fully operational, $462,619 (US) has
been raised and substantially expended in implement-
ing this plan. This reflects both the ambitious scope
of work achieved, and the often unavoidably high cost
of doing business in the Cayman Islands. The major-
ity ($186,000) was contributed by corporate donors
within the Cayman Islands. Other leading sources of
project financing were raised and channeled through
the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ($89,000),
the International Reptile Conservation Foundation
($73,000), and the International Iguana Foundation
($45,000). Income from commercial activity (retail
products and tours) has been relatively insignificant,
but is now targeted to expand.
Volunteerism has expanded greatly. Notable volun-
teer resources have been recruited internationally via
IRCF, and locally through service clubs and individual
long-term volunteers. The program now has three
full time staff: a volunteer Director and two salaried
Wardens. IRCF continues to provide extensive free
services equivalent to additional program staff, as well
as consistent contributions from other overseas par-
ticipants who made commitments in the 2001-5 SRP.
The cumulative effect has been a massive savings on
the cash cost of the work achieved.
The new Species Recovery Plan 2006-2010 calls for
300-500 acres of xerophytic shrubland on Grand Cay-
man to be protected to support a restored population of
at least 1,000 Blue Iguanas. Plans have been extended
to breed and rear sufficient genetically optimal iguanas
for release, to safeguard the species via and ex-situ cap-
tive population, to continue education and awareness
activities, and to further build the financial, human
and technical resources which will be essential to save
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Ramer
Ricord's Iguana 2005 Update.
Jan Ramer (Indianapolis Zoo).
2005 was a busy year in the Dominican Republic!
Grupo Jaragua, Zoodom, and Indianapolis Zoo have
been working together to develop a Ricord's iguana
curriculum directed toward the 3rd grade classroom.
This work is funded by grants from US Fish and Wild-
life Service - Wildlife Without Borders Latin America
and Caribbean program, and AZA's Conservation
Endowment Fund. The curriculum includes a book-
let with natural history information about the species
and habitat, vocabulary words, maps, etc. There are
resource kits that consist of a plastic bin that students
will fill with sand. There are plastic eggs, cactus, ther-
mometer, light bulb, etc. so that students can pretend
to incubate eggs and take sand temperatures. There is
a game board with iguana questions, and a poster for
every classroom. Teacher workshops will be held in
Santo Domingo, and in the towns closest to Ricord's
iguana habitat this spring and the curriculum will be
implemented this fall. The Dominican Department of
Education is helping fund these workshops!
Zoodom's four Ricord's iguana juveniles that hatched
during the ISG meeting in 2002 are all doing very
well, and the ten hatchlings from 2004 received PIT
tags and physical exams in April when Jan Ramer was
there with a group of Indianapolis Zoo members. The
breeding pair were also examined and found to be in
Ernst Rupp, of Grupo Jaragua, has been working hard
in the Pedernales habitat, noting over hundreds of
hatchlings last year! Grupo Jaragua has worked tirelessly
on local education and involvement in the conservation
program, and also in developing ecotourism opportuni-
ties in the area. Ernst received emergency funds last fall
from the International Iguana Foundation to conduct
survey work on the south shore of Lago Enriquillo when
he learned that one of the local senators was planning
to bulldoze a prime Ricord's habitat to build houses.
Indianapolis Zoo, Grupo Jaragua, and Durrell Wildlife
ConservationTrust recently submitted a proposal to US
Fish and Wildlife to continue population and habitat
analysis in all three known Ricord's iguana habitat and
to conduct workshops for biology students and Depart-
ment ofWildlife technicians. If funded, this work will
continue through 2007.
JAMAICA - Wilson
Jamaican Iguana Recovery Project, 2005 Update.
Byron Wilson and Rick Van Veen (University of the
Funding - A grant for $20,000 (US) was recently ob-
tained from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Trust
(submitted through the IIF). Additional funds to
support work over the past year were obtained from
the International Iguana Foundation, the International
Iguana Society, Conservation International, and the
Miami Metrozoo. Two new GPS units were purchased
with funds from a New Initiative grant awarded to
Byron Wilson (BSW) from the University of the West
Research and Outreach Activities - We continued to
encourage protection of the Hellshire Hills ecosystem
through the participation of other researchers and inter-
ested parties. In the past year we initiated anew project
focusing on the intestinal parasites of wild pigs (with
Professor Ralph Robinson and postgraduate student
Chinedu Okoro from UWI). Ms. Tamia Harker has
just begun a postgraduate programme (with BSW) that
will involve sea turtle work along the Hellshire coast and
Dr. Dave Miller (Geography and Geology, UWI) has
been conducting research on the beach profile dynamics
of Manatee Bay. Other notable visitors included Dr.
William Cooper and Dr. Karl Rollings. In addition,
we coordinated camping field trips for three different
UWI courses (two in conservation biology, one in forest
ecology). We also recently hosted an overnight excur-
sion for the Jamaican Geographical Society, and assisted
with a children's show for local television, "Hello World
Jamaica," on CVM-TV. In short, we are trying to get
as many people involved and interested in conserving
the Hellshire Hills as possible.
Pitfall Trapping Experiment - This field experiment,
examining the impact of mongoose control on the ter-
restrial herpetofauna of the Hellshire Hills, proceeded
into its ninth year. The 2005 results were not remark-
able in terms of faunal abundance. 2006 should be an
interesting year due to anticipated increases in fauna
abundance resulting from high levels of productivity
spurred by high levels of rainfall. In addition, removal
trapping of mongooses and other mammalian preda-
tors from control plots will be conducted during the
period of pitfall trapping assessments, to remove the
confounding influence of predators tampering with
traps or trapped specimens.
Headstart and Release - In conjunction with the Fort
Worth Zoo we released 15 headstarted C. colleiin Feb-
ruary, 2005, into the core iguana conservation zone.
Three UWI undergraduate students also participated in
the release, which brought the total number of repatri-
ated headstarters to 75.
2005 Nesti ng Season - The first nest was deposited on
24 May, and the last nest was deposited on 20 June.
A total of 14 nests were recorded from the two known
communal nesting sites (i.e., "Upper" and "Lower").
Dawn Fleuchaus and Stephanie Wicker assisted with
nest watches, as thev did during the 2004 nesting sea-
son. Iguanas attempted to nest at the two new nesting
areas identified in 2004, but abandoned the effort after
the areas were disturbed by wild pigs. One new nest-
ing area was discovered in a rock hole, with egg shell
fragments indicating that seven hatchlings emerged in
the 2005 season; additional evidence of nesting from
previous years) was also noted.
South Camp Reconstruction - Our primary research
station ("South Camp") was severely damaged during
Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Using discounted
and salvaged materials, South Camp was re-built in June
2005 with major assistance from Brian and Stephanie
Wicker and Larry and Dawn Fleuchaus. In particular,
Brian and Larry, both professional tradesmen, put in
several days of hard labor and saw the reconstruction
effort through to near completion. We are indebted
to them all for their hard work, good company, and
donations of tools and other camp toys.
Invasive Predator Control - Predator control efforts
continue to make the core iguana area a safer place for
young iguanas and other threatened wildlife species.
In addition to the 55-60 small mammal traps that are
operated continuously, we also expanded our wild pig
and dog control efforts through the deployment of
additional snares. Catch totals for the period include:
7 cats, -85 mongoose, -25+ pigs, -50 rats, and 0
dogs. The main problem with our anti-invasive effort
continues to be the difficult nature of cat control. It is
dearly some individuals are simply not trappable by our
current methods. Because leg-hold traps and poisons
would pose a risk to native wildlife species, the only
solution is to obtain a small caliber rifle outfitted with
a spotlight and a silencer. This piece of equipment is
at the top of our wish list, but the legal (and illegal )
gun situation in Jamaica is not conducive to making
this a reality. We would also like to expand our present
trapping grid to include a loop trail outside the existing
trapping loop. Recent radio-telemetry results indicate
that such an expansion would enhance post natal dis-
persal in C collei (see below). The current trapping
programme remains a major effort, owing primarily to
the difficulty of accessing the remote interior Hellshire
location, not to mention the logistical obstacles posed
by the transport of equipment and traps to remote sites.
However, continuous removal ofmammalian predators
is arguably the only conservation activity that is improv-
inp conditions for wild iguanas in Hellshire. We thank
other members of the trapping team for their efforts,
especially Marion Osborne and Edwin Duffus.
2005 Hatching Season - The 2005 hatching season
was extraordinarily successful, with a minimum of 157
hatchlings recorded for the season (2.5 times as many
as 2004). Interestingly, and probably attributable to
wetter incubation conditions, the average SVL and
mass of hatchlings in 2005 was notably greater than in
2004. Twenty hatchlings were taken to the Hope Zoo
for headstarting, 41 participated in a radio-telemetry
study (see below), and the remainder were marked and
Radio-Telemetry of Hatchlings - Forty-one hatchlings
were outfitted with radio transmitters, of which six
slipped out of their harnesses almost immediately;
hence, data were collected for 35 individuals. Activity
patterns and hide site selection were similar to patterns
observed in 2004, though dispersal distances were
greater. High mortality attributable to mongoose and
cat predation was also noted. Preliminary analysis of
mortality data indicate that hatchlings that disperse
out of the predator-controlled area are doomed. Direct
observation of mongoose predation on a transmit-
tered hatchling was also observed and one hatchling
was tracked to the stomach of a young Jamaican boa
(Epicrates subflavus). Detailed data on dispersal, post-
dispersal settling, and subsequent behavior were also
obtained. Still on-going, the study will conclude in
early December 2005.
Goat Islands - Two reconnaissance trips were made
to the Goat Islands in 2005. The habitat still looks
relatively intact, but a rumored organized charcoal
operation on Great Goat Island is of great concern.
As always, the critical impediment to a Goat Islands
rehabilitation programme concerns the delegation of
management authority. Recently however, it appears
that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has
finally been delegated management authority for both
of the Goat Islands, as well as for most of the Hellshire
Hills (the organization also owns those areas). We are
presently in discussions with UDC that should result
in the signing of an MOU with the Durrell Wildlife
Conservation Trust (DWCT) and the Department of
Life Sciences (UWI), so we can initiate fund raising
activities and begin the restoration project.
* Continue existing initiatives (e.g., predator control,
headstart and release, monitoring iguana population)
* Radio telemetry ofpost-partum iguanas
* Biological surveys of the Goat Islands
* Assessment of "western" and "eastern" Hellshire
* Consolidation of C. collei data set
* Advocacy for management capacity (UDC)
* Formalization of Goat Island restoration agreements
* Initiation of genetic study of iguana
* New postgraduate student to undertake GIS-based
habitat assessment of Hellshire
* Revision of species recovery programme (Summer
* Iguana project facility - Port Royal Marine Laboratory
* Fund raising...
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS - Hudson (for Gerber)
Turks and Caicos iguana, 2005 Update. Glenn Gerber
and Allison Alberts (Zoological Society of San Diego).
Translocations - The recently established populations
of Cyclura carinata on French, Six Hills East, Bay, and
Middle Cays were last visited in April/May 2005. All
of these populations have exhibited excellent adult
survivorship and growth rates. Average adult sizes on
all the translocation cays are now larger than those
documented for the source cays, Big Ambergris and
Little Water. Successful reproduction has occurred
on all translocation cays each year since establishment
(January 2002 for French, Bay, and Middle Cays; Janu-
ary 2003 for Six Hills East Cay). All animals captured
in April/May 2005 from the first cohort of juveniles
produced on the cays were determined to be reproduc-
tively mature, based on published size at maturity data
(Iverson 1979). Compared to the source populations,
this represents a reduction in age at maturity on the
translocation cays from 6 - 7 years to 1.5 - 2.5 years.
Accelerated growth rates on the translocation cays are
occurring despite significantly lower plant diversity
than on the source cays and are attributed to low levels
of intraspecific competition on these cays relative to
the dense source populations. Growth trajectories are
expected to decrease as population densities increase.
Big Ambergris Cay - Development activities on Big
Ambergris Cay have increased dramatically in the past
year due to new partnerships with outside developers
resulting in establishment of the Turks and Caicos
Sporting Club. Irreparable damage to native habitats
was already underway in April 2005, during our last
visit, and recent reports from Big Ambergris by TCI-
based colleagues are extremely grim. Heavy machinery
of all kinds is in daily use and no visible effort is being
made with regard to iguanas or other wildlife.
Little Water Cay - Cats, which first crossed the sandbar
connecting this cay to Water and Pine Cays in 2000,
are still the major concern for this otherwise protected
population. A small-scale cat trapping program was
initiated last year resulting in the capture and removal
of three cats from the island's southern end but this
program was suspended in the spring of 2005 and has
not yet been reinstated due to a shortage of TCNT
staff. No sign of cats were seen at the southern board-
walk study site in May 2005, during my last visit, and
recent reports from Bryan Manco of the TCNT suggest
this is still the case. Cats were still in evidence at the
north boardwalk study site in May and their impact
on this population (most notably juveniles) is gradu-
ally becoming evident. Glenn will accompany a team
from Island Conservation to Little Water, Water, and
Pine Cays in March 2006 to assess the situation and
begin the preparations necessary for full-scale cat and
rat eradications. In collaboration with engineers at
Johnston's International, efforts are underway to pro-
duce and price a fence design that will stretch across
the sandbar and isolate Little Water Cay from Water
and Pine Cays. Johnston's has offered to install the
fence for free.
Caribbean Wildlife Foundation - The Zoological So-
ciety of San Diego is helping to establish a non-profit
conservation organization in the TCI through the dona-
tion of boats and equipment that have been dedicated
to the TCI iguana project for the past five years, and
by covering legal fees associated with incorporation.
The new non-profit (tentatively called the "Caribbean
Wildlife Foundation") should be functional by mid
2006. Operation will depend on securing outside
funding through grants, donations, and other sources.
While much of the initial focus will undoubtedly be
on iguanas and the TCI, the organization will not be
bound to these taxonomic or geographic restrictions.
As a non-profit based in a Caribbean country, the foun-
dation will be eligible for a variety of funding sources
closed to US or UK based non-profits.
EXUMA ISLANDS, BAHAMAS - Knapp
2005 Research Update for Cyclura cychlurafigginsi.
Charles Knapp (John G. Shedd Aquarium and
University of Florida).
Iguana populations in the Exumas were monitored
briefly in May 2005 by the Shedd Aquarium. The
translocated C.c.figginsi population on Pasture Cay (see
past ISG reports for historic details) was visited for 1.5
days but only six adult iguanas were seen or captured.
Pasture Cay is inhabited by rats and this population is
being used to investigate the potential impacts of rats
on the growth of iguana populations. Sixteen iguanas
were translocated originally in 2002. Three iguanas
(two in 2003 and one in 2005) have been confirmed
dead and six alive. The others remain missing. The
lack of adults is a strong concern but mi tigated slightly
by the presence of hatchlings and juveniles. We have
documented extraordinary growth rates in recaptured
juveniles. The unintended translocation of a male-
biased propagule is suspected as the reason for the ap-
parent loss of adult iguanas. Intensive monitoring of
the population is needed to study the long-term effects
of the male-biased translocated colony.
Bitter Guana and Gaulin Cays were monitored for a
total of four days resulting in 45 iguana captures (18
recaptures). The goats reported previously on Gaulin
Cay were not seen, however, we documented the larvae
of Cactoblastis cactorum for the first time on an Opuntia
cactus pad. The iguana education signs posted origi-
nally in 1998 have fallen and must be replaced. Bitter
Guana Cay was surveyed briefly and two goats were
observed. Our concern is the significant increase in
tourist traffic on the two cays, especially Gaulin Cay.
Over the past decade, rarely did we observe tourists
on Gaulin Cay. However, tourists were observed on
the cay each day. The visitors come from Staniel Cay
located immediately north of the cays. The tourists
are being told to visit the island and feed the iguanas.
This is a concern because visitor traffic in the Exuma
Cays has been increasing significant dy over the past de-
cade. Many of these tourists land on cays inhabited by
iguanas. For example, the Aliens Cays in the northern
Exumas experiences up to 600 people each week from
one-day Nassau excursions. The islands in the southern
Exumas also receive high-impact visitors from Great
Exuma aboard one-day excursion tourist trips. Conse-
quently, there are few iguana populations remaining in
the Exumas that are free from visitor impacts. Visitors
purposely feed the iguanas, thus altering their natural
behavior and potentially their health. A study should
be initiated to investigate the potential impacts of visitor
traffic on iguana populations in the Exumas.
The Exuma Island iguana occurs on only seven cays in
the archipelago and their population does not exceed
1500 individuals. Protection offered in the form of
isolation is being eroded as more yachtsmen cruise the
Exumas and islands are leased. Humans bring with
them their dogs, cats, and unwittingly deleterious
behavior of feeding the lizards. I have become increas-
ingly concerned for the Exuma iguanas over the last two
years because of elevated human activity on the cays
they inhabit. More protection in the form of signs wich
rules should be offered to the few populations remain-
ing throughout the Exumas.
Cuban treefrog on Andros. Photo by Joe Burgess.
Cuban treefrog on Andros. Photo by Joe Burgess.
ALLEN'S CAYS, BAHAMAS - Iverson
25 Year Overview for Cyclura cychlura inornata.
John Iverson (Earlham College).
We continued our study of the Allen Cays rock
iguana with field work in May 2005. Analysis of the
mark-recapture data for subadults and adults (>25 cm
snout-vent length) over the first 25 years of field work
(1980-2004) using Program MARK (courtesy Gary
White at Colorado State University) demonstrated that
1) the two natural populations of Leaf and U Cays have
more than doubled over those 25 years (total popula-
tions on Leaf and U Cay now number about 600 and
300, respectively, excluding young of the year), 2) the
sex ratio on both islands has shifted from about two
males per female in the early 1980's to one-to-one cur-
rently, 3) annual adult survivorship has averaged about
90% (though higher in the more shy females than the
bolder males, and higher on U Cay than Leaf Cay where
tourist visitation and feeding is much higher), and 4)
population growth has slowed to near zero over the last
few years. Our analysis suggests that the two popula-
tions are approaching or have exceeded the carrying
capacity (K) of their respective islands (with standing
crop biomass exceeding 100 kg/ha on Leaf Cay).
The fact that adult survivorship is higher on Leaf than
U Cay and yet annual population growth rate on Leaf
Cay has exceeded that on U Cay seems antithetical.
However, we believe this pattern is a result of higher
juvenile mortality on U than Leaf Cay. Preliminary
data on nest survivorship for two years (2001-2002)
support this hypothesis. Nesting areas on U Cay are
less than one meter above sea level, and have wetter,
more easily saturated soils. Storms during hatching
season in September can cause the suffocation of late
stage eggs or hatchlings in the nest.
During our field work in May 2005, we also visited
two other islands onto which iguanas were apparently
introduced, and we discovered a third. One of these
islands had no iguanas in 1996, but now has at least 40,
representing all size classes. Field work in March 2006
will focus on more rigorous surveys of these translocated
populations, as well as the exploration of many other
small cays in the northern Exumas to which iguanas
may also have been introduced.
Finally, in December 2004 Holland America Cruise
Lines received permission from the Bahamas Ministry
ofAgriculture to translocate a small group ofAllen Gays
iguanas to a small cay ("Guana Cay") in the interior
tidal lagoon on Litde San Salvador (now Half Moon
Cay) for ecotourism purposes. In early January 2005
Kirsten Hines and I visited Leaf Cay in the Allen Cays,
and captured one hatchling (ca. 3 months of age) and
ten sub-young adults (estimated ages 7.3 to 15.3 years;
mean body length, 25.9 cm; range, 22.5-31.7 cm;
mean body mass, 634 g; range, 420-1028). These
11 were measured and pit-tagged, and transported
to and released on the east end of Guana Cay. One
of the requirements for issue of the permit was that a
fence be built across the cay to restrict the iguanas to
the east end, preventing their dispersal to the
main island (with feral mammals and high
to urist visitation), and preventing the dispersal
of predators and competitors to the east end
of the island. Unfortunately, on our arrival in
January, we found that the fence did not reach
even to the high tide lines on either side of the
island, and also had an 8" gap under it. We
strongly recommended that this deficiency be
corrected; however, to our knowledge the fence
has not been modified, and some of the iguanas
are apparently now found across the length of
at least Guana Cay. We are not optimistic that
this translocation will be successful.
Resident male C.c.cychlura at Tiamo Resort, Andros.
Photo by Joe Burgess.
ANEGADA ISLAND - Hudson (for Gerber
Cyclurapinguis: 2005 update. Kelly Bradley (Dallas
Zoo) and Glenn Gerber (Zoological Society of San
The Anegada iguana headstart and release program is
going very well, with a consistently high rate of survival.
The first 24 headstarted iguanas to be returned to the
wild were released in October 2003 and ranged in size
from 2050 to 750 grams. Survival after two years has
been 79%, with 19 animals still alive. The 24 animals
released in 2004 ranged from 1540 to 600 grams. After
one year, this group has experienced an 88% survival
rate with 21 animals still living.
Because the smallest animals from the 2003 and 2004
releases survived, we decided to further reduce animal
size for the October 2005 releases. This past fall, an
additional 24 iguanas were released, ranging in size from
1055 to 415 grams. The same release strategywas used
as in years past. Twelve animals (6.6) of equivalent sizes
were released at each of two study sites: rocky woodland
on Middle Cay and sandy scrub in Bones Bight.
The eight smallest iguanas ranged in size from 612 to
415 grams and received internal transmitters to insure
our ability to monitor them long-term. Dr. Bonnie
Raphael and Nina Palmer from the Wildlife Conser-
vation Society conducted the health screenings and
transmitter implantation surgeries. The 16 remaining
iguanas were fitted with external transmitters attached
to the nuchal crest with nylon coated stainless steel wire
and crimping tubes.
All of the animals were released back into the wild
during the first week of October. The iguanas were
tracked daily for the first month, after which survival
was 100%. The first follow-up monitoring trip took
place in December 2005. After 60 days, 22 animals
were still alive, representing a 91% survival rate. Ad-
ditional follow-up trips will take place in February,
May, July, and October of 2006.
Conservation Outreach for the Anegada Iguana.
Lee Pagni (Zoological Society of San Diego).
Conservation Education continues to play an impor-
tant role in the recovery of the Anegada iguana. With
momentum building from previous years' activities,
2005 saw numerous conservation education activities
related to the recovery program.
The program received a grant from the IUCN's Sir Peter
Scott Fund for creating outreach materials such as an
interpretive guide to the headstart facility and a poster
and complementary brochure to raise local awareness
about recovery efforts. These materials will be produced
and distributed in 2006. Funding was also received
from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums for
capacity building of local educators. These funds were
used to cover travel expenses for a group of 12 educators
from the BVI to attend a one-day workshop on envi-
ronmental education coordinated by the Virgin Island
Network of Environmental educators (VINE) based
in St. Thomas, USVI, the BVI National Parks Trust,
and the San Diego Zoo. A grant from the Institute of
Museum and Library Services helped fund outreach for
a genetic analysis of the San Diego Zoo's captive group
of Anegada iguanas. The outreach activities include a
secondary-level lesson on microsatelite DNA that is
posted on the San Diego Zoo's website.
An annual highlight is the release ofheadstarted iguanas
back to the wild. This year 11 members of the Anegada
community took part in the October releases. Besides
bringing more awareness to the headstart program, local
involvement in these types of activities is important to
improving local support for other recovery efforts that
include protecting key habitat and controlling feral
Finally, outreach efforts were not only contained in the
Caribbean. Middle-school students from the San Diego
Zoo's ZooCorps program took part in important out-
reach activities. First, the group learned about Anegada
iguana conservation, produced a display about what
they learned, and educated visitors on Zoo grounds
about the recovery program. ZooCorps members also
created "genetic jewelry" based on a sequence of an
Anegada iguana gene. These colorful and genetically
accurate beaded necklaces were given to students on
Anegada during an outreach presentation by Kelly
Bradley of the Dallas Zoo.
FIJI ISLANDS - Burgess (for Harlow)
Fijian Iguana Update. Peter Harlow (Taronga Zoo).
Thanks firstly to the 18 Iguana Specialist Group mem-
bers and all the other international specialists who made
the long and expensive trip to Fiji for the'Conservation
and Management Plan Workshop for Fijian Iguanas' in
November 2004. The Species Recovery Plan from the
workshop should be finalized and printed in early 2006.
Several of the recommendations from the workshop
have already been completed or are currently being
Two reports recommended by the workshop have been
completed: the first, titled 'SurveyTechniques and Data
Analyses for Estimating Fijian Iguana Abundance' (by
Peter Harlow and Pita Biciloa), has been printed and
distributed to all potential users in Fiji. This is a user-
friendly description of how to conduct line transect
surveys and analyze the data using distance survey
techniques to obtain abundance estimates for both
species of Fijian iguanas.
The second report, 'Invasive Plant Assessment and
Weed lanagemenr Plan for the Fijian Crested Iguana
Sanctuary Island of Yadua Taba' (by Jennifer Taylor,
Peter Harlow, and Jone Niukula) has been printed and
distributed. Four species of invasive plant were identi-
fied as needing intervention to control and eventually
remove from Yadua Taba: Rain tree, Wedelia trilobata,
Guava and Lantana. These species are continuing to
spread on Yadua Taba and thus decrease the available
dry forest habitat available for crested iguanas. Over
300 rain trees have so far been poisoned, which is more
than half of the estimated total on the island. The re-
port includes a five-year plan for the removal of these
four invasive species by the sanctuary ranger.
This project began in July 2003, and by September
2005 Wedelia trilobata or 'trailing daisy as it is also
called, had been totally eradicated from the island by
intensive hand removal. This species is native to the
Caribbean but is highly invasive in the Pacific, covering
the forest floor with a foot-thick layer of interconnected
plants and choking potential iguana nesting habitat.
The successful removal of this species from Yadua Taba
is the first record of an invasive plant species being
removed from any island in Fiji.
In September 2005, Clare Morrison, Isaac Rounds,
Nunia Thomas (University of South Pacific), Pita Bi-
ciloa and Jone Niukula (Fiji National Trust), and Peter
Harlow (Taronga Zoo) completed the first of four two-
week field trips to Yadua Taba crested iguana sanctuary.
We collected tree-use data and buckets of iguana faecal
material (for later analyses) to obtain a better picture
of crested iguana diet across all seasons. Six permanent
transects were established and a complete vegetation
and iguana survey along each transect were completed.
Knowledge of the dietary requirements of this herbivo-
rous species across all seasons is needed to assess potential
islands suitable for future translocation of Fijian crested
iguanas, or for forest restoration on degraded islands.
The second trip took place in December 2005, and the
fourth and final field trip is scheduled for July 2006.
In September 2005, Craig Morley (University of
South Pacific) and Peter Harlow, with local assistance,
completed a rapid survey of crested iguanas on the 40
hectare island of Macuata, where crested iguanas were
re-discovered in 2004. Based on 22 night-time sightings
along 800 metres of transect, an average of 25 iguanas
per hectare of forest occur on the island, and almost half
this island is currently covered in regenerating forest.
This island is one kilometer off the north coast of Viti
Levu, Fiji's largest island, and about two hours by road
from the capital Suva. It is privately owned, and was
heavily burned and goat grazed until 1994 when goats
were removed. The forest is now recovering, and most
of the iguana's favorite food tree species are present but
in low abundance. This island is second in importance
after Yadua Taba for the long-term conservation of the
crested iguana, and together with Yadua Taba, these
are the only crested iguana populations in Fiji where
numbers are stable or increasing.
PhD student Suzie Morrison from the Australian Na-
tional University (Canberra) began her field research on
Yadua Taba in September 2005. Suzie and her partner
Zach Pierce will be using mark-recapture and radio-track-
ing techniques to gather basic biological data on repro-
duction, juvenile recruitment and habitat requirements
of crested iguanas. Other projects include seed dispersal
by iguanas and rats, the effects of the introduced invasive
crazy ant' on crested iguanas and their habitat, and dry
forest restoration projects. See their project website at:
MONA ISLAND, PUERTO RICO - Garcia
Mona Island Iguana, Cyclura cornuta stejnegeri
Update. Miguel Garcia (Puerto Rico Department of
Natural and Environmental Resources).
The endemic Mona Island Iguana, Cyclura cornuta
stejnegeri, has been listed as endangered under the
Endangered Species Act and the Regulation to Govern
the Endangered and Threatened Species of the Com-
monwealth of Puerto Rico. This is because the species
exhibits a limited distribution, relatively low population
numbers, and reduced recruitment ofj uveniles into the
breeding stage. Therefore, a head-start program was
started in 1999 and is conducted by the Department
ofNatural and Environmental Resources (PRDNER),
the Toledo Zoo, and the University of Puerto Rico. By
October 2005, 87 headstart iguanas have been released
and of these 33 animals have been recaptured. We
have recorded dispersal data from nine individuals and
found relatively large home ranges, ranging from 2.4-
22.2 hectares. The average home range (MCP) for all
individuals was 19.8 hectares. (Kernel 90% = 13.3 and
Kernel 50% = 2.3). All the headstart iguanas observed
are active and in good health, indicating the success of
this management strategy.
Number of Hatchlings
Period Sardinera Playa de PAjaros
1999-2000 47 4
2000-2001 25 0
2001-2002 2 5
2002-2003 3 34
2003-2004 0 35
2004-2005 6 42
Table 1. Number of hatchlings collected at two sites by year.
* No released iguanas have been found dead
* Relatively large home ranges (2.4-22.2 ha)
* Survivorship data are still being recorded by active
searching of marked individuals (with or without
* Population and Habitat Viability Assessment is
needed to determine number of released iguanas nec-
essary to obtain a positive and sustained population
ISLA MAGUEYES, PUERTO RICO - Garcia
Introduced Cuban Iguana, Cyclura nubila nubila on
Isla Magueyes. liguel Garcia (Puerto Rico Depart-
ment of Natural and Environmental Resources).
The introduced population of Cuban iguanas on Isla
Magueves has become a problem since it is very char-
ismatic but the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a
strict public policy against exotic biota. Only research-
ers, students, and field workers (no tourists) are allowed
on the island, but the animals have been fed and are
now aggressive and numerous (-500 on 7.2 ha).
A discussion of this issue was held among ISG mem-
bers and key points are listed below. A sub-group was
formed to help the Puerto Rico Department of Natural
and Environmental Resources find an acceptable solu-
tion to this dilemma.
* The population is exempt from the US ESA rules
because it is an introduced population. Legally the
animals could be moved from the island to the pet
trade within the US. Placing the animals in the US pet
trade poses serious risks of: improper care, undesirable
precedent, and potential release and conversion to a
new feral population.
* They are a CITES I species so trade within the US
is not regulated. Translocating the iguanas back to
Cuba would involve US export and a Cuban import
permits. Translocation back to Cuba is zoonotically
risky to other herpetofauna.
* The Cuban government should be contacted by the
Puerto Rico Department ofNa ural and Environmen-
tal Resources to assess their interest and involvement
in the future of this population.
* The ISG is concerned about stating a policy in the
event of backlash. It is preferred to have the Puerto
Rican government decide their policy and the ISG can
advise on the potential problems of any action.
* Established colonization on the mainland of Puerto
Rico is unlikely because there are many predators even
though the over-water distance is short.
* A control plan is needed with an analysis of harvest-
ing of adults through relocation (outside Puerto Rico),
stopping population growth (nest destruction), and
euthanasia (last resort).
IGUANINAE GENETICS - Stephen
Molecular analysis of the Ctenosaurs of Nuclear
Central America: insights into speciation, conserva-
tion and management. Stesha Pasachnik (University
Mesoamerica has been defined as one of the earth's
biodiversity hotspots. The Ctenosaura group exempli-
fies this pattern because it is an incredibly species rich
clade, however, it has received little attention thus far
in scientific research. In order to evaluate plausible
explanations for speciation within this clade I plan to:
1.) construct a molecular phylogeny of the iguanas of
Ctenosaura melanosterna complex inhabiting the Ca-
ribbean borders and islands of Honduras, the heart of
Mesoamerica, (using the C quinquecarinata complex as
an outgroup); 2.) investigate the colonization of C. bak-
eri, C similis, C melanosterna, and C oedirhina to the
Bay Islands, Cayos Cochinos and various islets in the
Caribbean Sea bordering Honduras; and 3.) document
the degree and directions of hybridization, between
the endemic C. baker and a wide ranging congener
C similis, on the island of Utila, Bay Islands, Hon-
duras. This study will provide insight into diversity,
species status, and the conservation and management
strategies that are necessary to preserve the Ctenosaura
Male Cyclura c. cychlura, Andros. Photo by
Genetic Studies Update. Catherine Stephen (Utah
Valley State College).
Iguana Phylogeography - Iguana consists of two species,
I. iguana and I. delicatissima. While L delicatissima his-
torically has a very limited range restricted to the Lesser
Antilles, I iguana is found throughout the Neotropics
and the Lesser Antilles (Burghart & Rand 1982). It
seems highly unlikely that I iguana constitutes a single
interbreeding population, given the enormous physical
distances and barriers to gene flow. We are using nu-
clear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data to explore
the phylogeographic history of this species. Samples
included in the preliminary analysis have been collected
from 17 different countries. Results from both data sets
show a congruent. deep lineage divergence between the
Central American populations and the South American
plus Lesser Antilles populations of green iguana. The
topology of the phylogeny indicates that Iguana iguana
arose on the South American continent and radiated
much more recently into Central America.
Iguaninae Subfamily Phylogenetics - Iguaninae is an
ancient group with eight modern genera distributed
throughout the Western Hemisphere and the Fijian
archipelago. Previous morphological and molecular
studies of Iguaninae relationships have relied on in-
complete sample sets that yield conflicting topologies.
The subfamily collectively spans thousands of miles
across multiple geographical boundaries,
and exhibits a high degree of regional and
island endemism. Because of its age and
distribution, the group is uniquely suited
to test biogeographic hypotheses, such as
suggested occurrences of past refugia or re-
lictual fragments, as well as allow empirical
evaluation of molecular clock models. In
order to generate a robust phylogeny we
have collected DNA sequence data at four
loci (two nuclear and two mitochondrial)
for all eight genera, including 28 of the
Iguaninae species. Phylogenies generated
from maximum likelihood analysis of
separate data sets result in congruent phy-
logenies with varying levels of resolution.
CENTRAL AMERICA - Pasachnik
Preliminary analysis strongly supports
Dipsosaurusas the most basal lineage in the
subfamily, followed by an early dispersal
of Braciylopbus to the Fijian Archipelago
and a subsequent divergence of the Cyclura
lineage. A sister relationship between
Sauromalus and Iguana is supported by
the combined analysis, and this clade is
sister group to the rest of the subfamily
(Ctenosaur, Amblyrhynchus, and Conolo-
phus). Interesdinglv, Ctenosaurdefensorfalls -
outside of the Ctenosaur clade in the three
data sets in which it is included.
Booby Cay Study Complete - Cyclura
carinata, a Bahamian rock iguana, currently
has two recognized subspecies. Cyclura c.
carinata is found on several islands and cays throughout
the Turks and Caicos Islands. The second subspecies,
C.c. bartschi, is now only known to exist on Booby Cay,
a small island offofMayaguana Island, Bahamas, which
is also within the subspecies historic range. Support for
subspecific status is weak. Geographic isolation appears
to be the only strong indicator of genetic isolation. Re-
cent conservation attempts made on the species behalf
have brought questions regarding the taxonomic status
of the species to the fore. We used mtDNA sequence
data to ask whether there is any genetic variation
that distinguishes C.c. bartschi from several sampled
populations of C.c. carinata. Our findings show that
the Booby Cay population of C carinata is fixed for
a common mtDNA haplotype found in Caicos Island
populations of C. carinata. In contrast, four different
haplotypes were found among populations designated
C.c. carinata. We conclude that there is insufficient
evidence to support C.c. bartschias a subspecies and rec-
ommend that the Booby Cay population of C carinata
be included in ongoing conservation efforts currently
focused on the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Resident male Cyclura c. cychlura at Tiamo Resort, Andros.
Photo by Joe Burgess.
BOOBY CAY, BAHAMAS - Wasilewski and Conners
Bartsch's Rock Iguana, (Cyclura carinata bartschi)
2005 update. Steve Conners, Joe Wasilewski, Joe
Burgess, and John Bendon.
The population of Cyclura carinata bartschi found only
on Booby Cay, MNaavaguana, Bahamas has been moni-
tored annually since 1998. Repeat observations by a
core group of team members indicate that the popula-
tion has remained healthy and stable over this time
period. All size classes and sexes have been seen during
each visit despite the continued presence of introduced
goats, rats, and a strong hurricane. Human activity
(periodic camping by fisherman) on the island has had
no negative impact on the iguanas. Interviews with
local residents indicate that harvesting of goats may be
increasing, which would reduce their population, and
thus their impact on the vegetation. There are currently
50 individual iguanas marked, but few recaptures have
been made. Iguanas were observed fo ragi ng on seagrass
during extremely low tides. A set of transect surveys has
been completed, resulting in a conservative population
estimate of 14.5 lizards/hecrare, or a total population
of 558 animals on the Cay. It is recommended that
annual monitoring of this population continue.
International Iguana Foundation Report
Rick Hudson (Fort Worth Zoo)
The International Iguana Foundation (IIF) currently
has 14 Board members representing zoos, NGO's,
corporations, and foundations; the group is largely
U.S. based with one foreign partner (Durrell Wildlife
Conservation Trust). To date (December 2005) nearly
$400,000 has been raised, through a combination of
annual Board pledges, grants, and donations. The IIF
has received and administered over $120,000 in grants
from a number of sources including AZA Conservation
Endowment Fund, Morris Animal Foundation, SSC Sir
Peter Scott Conservation Action Fund, Conservation
International, and a host of zoos. One of the IIF's most
generous sponsors has been the Disney Wildlife Con-
servation Fund (DWCF) that has awarded $68,750 to
the IIF for iguana programs in Grand Cayman (2002-
2003), Turks and Caicos (2004), and Jamaica (2005).
Where have these funds gone? The IIF has awarded
just over $170,000 over four grant cycles (including the
recent 2005 awards) to support iguana conservation
work in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Anegada, St Lucia,
Dominican Republic. Mona, the Bahamas, and Fiji.
Funds have also been raised to support major projects
including emergency relief effort for Hurricane Ivan
damage ($17,000), Hope Zoo iguana facility renova-
tions ($9,000), and the development ofa feral mammal
control plan for Anegada ($11,000, thanks to San Diego
Zoo). Highlights of some of the projects and programs
that IIF has supported include the following:
* Salary support for manager of the blue iguana
headstart and breeding facility on Grand Cayman
* Supported the release and monitoring of23 blue igua-
nas in Grand Cayman's Salina Reserve in 2005-06
* Supported biologist Rick Van Veen's salary to con-
duct fieldwork in Jamaica's Hellshire Hills where he is
solving many mysteries on the life (and death) of the
* Supported the ongoing predator control effort in
Hellshire Hills and studying the impact of their re-
* Supported the repatriation of 28 headstarted Jamai-
can iguanas (2003 and 2005)
* Provided support to the ongoing iguana headstart
program at Jamaica's Hope Zoo
* Supported field surveys and conservation research
for the Anegada iguana recovery effort
* Funded the pre-release health screening, repatriation,
and follow-up monitoring for 72 Anegada iguanas
(2003 - 2005)
* Purchased a dedicated project vehicle for the Anegada
field researchers (split with IRCF funds from Daytona
* Provided training and technical support for the
Anegada iguana headstart program
* Funded signage for the protected nesting area for the
St. Lucia iguana
* Funded research on the nesting ecology and hatchling
survival of the St. Lucia iguana
* Provided funds to the NGO Grupo Jaragua to con-
duct field research that led to the discovery of a major
hotspot of Ricord's iguana habitat in the Pedernales
region of the Dominican Republic
* Funded a translocation of ten San Salvador iguanas
from Green to Cut Cay in the Bahamas in 2005
* Funded a new iguana population field assessment
technique for the Mona iguana
* Supported an ongoing natural history study for the
Fiji crested iguana on Yadua Taba
The IIF faces a number of major challenges in 2006
that it intends to work on, including the development
of a strategic business plan, identification of corporate
partners, ramping up fund-raising efforts, increasing
visibility and exposure, and expanding content on the
IIF web site.
The IIF Board of Directors met on 9-10 November
2006 following the ISG meeting in South Andros.
Bahamas. The Board reviewed five proposals request-
ing a total of $53,473. Due to funding constraints,
the Board was able to award $31,864 to the following
five programs, four of which provide direct support
to iguana species ranked Critically Endangered by the
IUCN Red List (Brachylophus vitiensis, Cyclura lewisi,
C collei, and C pinguis). Subsequent to the meeting,
emergency funds were awarded for conservation of C
ricordi, also Critically Endangered.
* Restoration of a Second Subpopulation ofWild Grand
Cayman Blue Iguanas, Phase 2, $5,864, Fred Burton.
This grant provides support for the December 2005
release of an additional 70 two-year old iguanas that
will significantly expand the population established in
the Salina Reserve in 2004-05. This release will bring
this new wild subpopulation halfway to its target size
of 200 individuals from 20 founder lines. Funds will be
used to purchase radio transmitters, pay for helicopter
rental to transport artificial iguana burrows, and sup-
port volunteer field workers.
* Jamaica Iguana Recovery Program, $9,000. Byron
Wilson. This grant provides funding to continue this
long-running field program and ensures that the pri-
mary 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 requirement of
the iguana, monitoring released iguanas (16 in 2005),
and radio-tracking hatchling iguanas.
* Conservation oftheAnegada Iguana: Public Education,
Headstart Optimization and Nest Protection, $8,000,
Kelly Bradley and Glenn Gerber This grant supports
field research and monitoring of the third consecutive
annual release of 24 radiotagged headstarted iguanas,
and provides funding to assemble a team to search for
iguana nests in July 2006 to ensure a large number of
hatchlings are brought into the headstart facility in
* Conservation ofthe Critically Endangered Fiian Crested
Iguana, $3,000. J.S. Keogh, P Harlow, and S. Morrison.
This awarded proposal provides support to the ongoing
natural history study of the Fijian crested iguana on
Yadua Taba that will help answer questions regarding
the ecological role they play in the their native forests.
IV ' 1; N-.
Andros Town Hall Meeting featuring presentations by Chuck
Knapp and Sandra Buckner. Photo by Joe Wasilewski.
Habitat use, reproductive ecology, and juvenile recruit-
ment will be studied.
SDevelopment ofa Cost-efficient andEffectitve Monitor-
ing Program for the Mona Iguana Population, S6,000,
N. Perez-Buitrago, S.M. Funk, WO. McMillan andM.
Garcia. Funds will be used to conduct a feasibility
study for using non-invasively collected DNA samples
(from feces) as a tool for acquiring accurate population
estimates. Using existing density estimates on the Mona
iguana population, workers will compare conventional
field methods (mark recapture) with modern lab tech-
niques using genetic markers. This pilot project has
long-term implications for field assessments of other
* Emergency Funds Requestfor a Ricord's Iguana Popula-
tion Survey on the South Shore ofLake Enriquillo, Do-
minican Republic, $3,000, Ernst Rupp (GrupoJaragua).
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 sup-
ports a major population of Ricord's iguana but does
not have legal protective status at present. Imminent
conservation measures need to be implemented to
protect this area.
John Binns (International Reptile Conservation
In December IRCF was granted $36,400 by the Dart
Foundation towards improvements to the Blue Iguana
Recovery Program's captive breeding and head-starting
facility on Grand Cayman. IRCF's 501c3 status facili-
tated this grant, which will be transmitted onwards to
the Blue Iguana Conservation Fund on Grand Cayman,
where it will be utilized to refurbish and subdivide an
oversized breeding pen, complete a storage shed and
food preparation area, install piped water throughout
the facility, and supplement funds already being raised
by an IRCF web appeal to erect a security and tour
management fence for the facility.
Tandora Grant (San Diego Zoo, CRES)
The Cyclura studbook contains a record of all animals
that have lived in US zoos and some non-zoo facilities.
The current living population is (M.EUnk):
Cyclura cornuta cornuta: 27.23.21 (71) in 20 zoos
Cyclura cychlurafigginsi: 1.5 (6) at the LA Zoo
Cyclura nubila nubila: 7.7 (14) in 4 institutions
Cyclura nubila caymanensis: 1.0 at the Atlanta Zoo
Cyclura ricordi: 9.7.1 (17) at ZooDom (Dominican
Cyclurapinguis: 9.9 (18) at San Diego, Miami Metro,
and recently the Houston Zoo. Fort Worth Zoo will
soon house 2.2 of these in their new Animal Outreach
and Conservation Center. The US population consists
of 1.2 founders and 2.1 potential founders. There are
approximately 80 animals living in the headstart facility
on Anegada. 24 were released in October 2003, 24 in
Fall 2004, and 24 in Fall 2005.
Cyclura collei: 7.11 (18) are living in six institutions and
females continue to lay infertile eggs. Approximately
224 iguanas have had some headstart time at the Hope
Zoo in Kingston, including 19 hatchlings from 2004
and 18 from 2005. There were six deaths due to the
2004 hurricane, but an additional four were captive-
hatched in the headstart facility.
Cyclura lewisi: 16.13 (29) in ten US institutions,
18.18.160 (196) at the Grand Cayman breeding facil-
ity. The US population is currently represented by
twelve founders. In 2005, three new founders bred
successfully at the Grand Cayman facility, increasing
the number to 8.7 founders and 2.3 potential found-
ers. Headstarting of juveniles from nests in the QEII
Botanic Park continued with 37 collected in 2005.
There are now 26.33.2 animals that have been tagged
and released into the park. A second release of juve-
niles in 2005 in the Salina Reserve brought the total to
47.46.1 (94) iguanas, representing ten founders. The
2000-05 Species Recovery Plan was revised at the end
of 2005 to encompass the next five years.
Husbandry Manual for West Indian Iguanas
Jeff Lemm (San Diego Zoo, CRES)
Husbandry manuals are helpful additions to captive
animal management programs and are suggested com-
ponents to IUCN SSC Species Survival Plans. The
West Indian Iguana Husbandry Manual was conceived
at the ISG meeting in 2002, held in the Dominican Re-
public. Surveys were sent to researchers working with
West Indian iguanas, as well as institutions working
with the animals in captivity. Publication of the manual
is still delayed. The sections on handling, quarantine,
husbandry, breeding and nesting, and Lesser Antillean
iguanas have been finished for more than two years. We
are still waiting for the nutrition and medical sections
from the Fort Worth Zoo. Recent emails indicate the
sections are nearly finished and should be delivered
in February, 2006. The finished manual will then
be edited by members of the group and translated to
Spanish by Miguel Garcia. Hopefully the document
will be available in mid-2006.
Digital Photography Guidelines for ISG Biologists
Thomas Wiewandt (Wild Horizons)
Like it or not, we are now living in a visual world. With
so many demands on our time today, even policy-mak-
ers are less willing to read a well-crafted argument.
Pictures have become an essential element for quick
and effective communication. They can grab atten-
tion and entice a reader to spend time with the text,
or entice a visitor to donate money for conservation
research and education.
As field biologists, we have had and will continue to
have, unique photographic opportunities....priceless
opportunities for sharing experiences and discoveries
with colleagues, educators, politicians, and the public-
at-large. Many of us now own and carry digiLal cameras
in the field, yet lack the knowledge to choose and use
this equipment effectively.
You can help the ISG and the IIF with educational and
fund-raising efforts by contributing useful(!) digital
images to our archive. We need your support. The
digital picture files required for publication in books,
magazines, journals, posters, and special exhibits must
meet certain minimal requirements. I've attempted to
outline some of the basics below, things that anyone
shooting more than family snapshots ought to know.
Cameras - The market is now flooded with digital
cameras at reasonable prices. Buy the best one you can
afford, but first check out the merits of each model in
your price range. Visit: http://www.dpreview. com for
in-depth technical reviews and comparisons. Features
to look for:
* 1) A body offering a 6 megapixel capture or greater;
many fine 8+ megapixel cameras are now on the market
for under US$1,000. John Binns (IRCF) has deter-
mined that the minimum file size for an 8"x10" color
image to be successfully printed on the cover of the
journal IGUANA requires greater than 7 megapixels.
* 2) Be sure your camera allows you to shoot in Camera
RAW format, and always save the RAW file as your
master. This is a 12 to 16-bit file with >64,000 levels
of tonality. Copy it and then process/enhance/resize
the COPY if you like. But store the RAW files of your
"keeper" images in a safe place (see note below about
CDs). For our archive, we need your unsharpened,
unadjusted RAW (or master TIFF) files, so that we can
work with them in Photoshop to get optimal results for
each project that comes along. ALL digital images are
inherently soft in focus and require sharpening; but to
properly sharpen a picture, publishers must first know
its end-use and size and apply this to the master file.
* 3) Never shoot in JPEG format (an 8-bit file with
only 256 levels of tonality), unless your camera allows
you to shoot RAW plus JPEG simultaneously (many
do). Yes, you will be able to cram many more JPEG
images on a data storage card, but not without a huge
trade-off: JPEG images are technically inferior, and this
compressed format loses quality each time the image
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* 4) One of your camera settings options should be
color space. Choose the Adobe 1998 color space, not
sRGB (sRGB is a color space with a greatly restricted
number of colors/tones intended for safe use on the
* 5) If your present camera, or one you are consider-
ing, doesn't offer the options listed above, look for a
better model. And study the instruction manual that
comes with your camera. Sounds obvious, but most
people don't bother.
Lenses - You should consider buying a camera body
that accepts interchangeable lenses. These SLR (single
lens reflex) designs allow you to see and compose your
picture through the lens, certainly much better for
telephoto & close-up photography.
Canon leads the pack in the digital photography world,
they now hold 75% of the pro digital SLR market,
and will probably stay there. Their R&D budget is
enormous. For this reason, I recently switched from
Nikon to Canon. If you are shopping for a new digital
camera for under US$1,000, I'd recommend the new
Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT). It's a light-
weight, compact 8.0 megapixel SLR that can be pur-
chased for about US$-00 (body only) from places like
http://www.buydig.com and ol' reliable http://www.
Choose your lenses carefully. For fieldwork, where size
and weight are important considerations, you might
want two zoom lenses that will give you a wide range of
options. Canon, for example, offers an EF-S 17-85mm
f/4-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM Lens (about $600 and
focuses to 14") and a Telephoto EF 70-300mm f/4.5-
5.6 Do IS Image Stabilizer USM lens (about $1,100).
Their built-in image stabilizers produce sharp pictures
without a tripod! Although not Canon's top-of-the-line
in a i trrrx ai-t
"L" lenses, both are excellent. The housing is plastic
and more sensitive to rough handling, but plastic makes
them extremely lightweight.
If your budget is really tight, consider buying Tamron
or Sigma lenses, but be careful. SOME are excellent,
others are poor. These companies offer different grades
of optical quality, and manufacturing quality-control
standards are not as reliable as with the major name
brands. Use the internet to find comprehensive reviews
of lenses that interest you, and after you buy one, test
the lens carefully as soon as you get it. Most retailers
will allow you to return equipment within the first two
weeks after purchase.
Keep in mind that an optically poor lens will produce
poor pictures; and in digital cameras, sharp focus on
the imaging plane is even more critical than it was in
film cameras. Accordingly, always remove the lens from
your camera body when packing your gear.
CF Cards for your Camera - Recording media do
not perform equally well in different camera models,
and some brands are more reliable than others. To
find which CF cards will work most efficiently in
your camera, visit http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/
ISO/ASA Index - As a general rule, shoot with an ISO
of 100; in the newer cameras 200 often works well and
400 can get you through in a pinch. Like film grain,
digital noise (expressed as discolored pixels) increases
as the ISO index increases, but is aesthetically more
distracting than film grain.
Exposure - Digital cameras of merit all provide a small
graph (a histogram) of tones with each picture that you
take. The graph resembles a mountain range. A stan-
dard, bell-shaped curve indicates a nice even spread of
brightness values ofpixels throughout the image. Ifyou
see a clipped histogram curve jammed against the verti-
cal axis, you have underexposed the shot and can expect
no detail in the shadows. If the curve rises abruptly
from the far right end of the horizontal axis, you have
lost detail in the highlights. To correct a bad exposure,
use the camera's Exposure Compensation Dial or set the
camera on Manual and adjust the exposure up or down
as needed to move the histogram right or left towards
the center. Vary your settings, shoot more pictures,
and watch how the histogram changes.
Tripods - Whether you shoot digital or film, the rules of
good technique stay the same. If you hand-hold your
camera, many important images will end up looking
fuzzy when enlarged. The dimmer the light and the
smaller the lens aperture (i.e. bigger f-numbers, which
give a greater depth of field), the more important a
tripod becomes. But if you'd rather not lug a tripod
around or find it's impractical to carry one, try using
lenses with built-in image stabilizers, a flash to freeze
action and fill shadows, or a higher ISO setting when
the light is poor. A monopod can also stabilize your
camera, some people swear by them, and they can
double as a hiking stick.
In harsh lighting situations (with bright highlights and
deep shadows) it's wise to bracket the exposure to cover
the full range of light seen by the human eye. Multiple
images of varying brightness shot from a tripod can
later be easily combined in Photoshop to show detail
in both highlights and shadows. TIP: To successfully
match two or more images, bracket the shutter speed
when shooting, not the lens aperture.
Organizing Storing your Images - In time, an unman-
aged picture library will soon become almost useless to
yourself and others. After every trip, begin by throwing
away your junk images (those that are out of focus, show
little of interest, or are inferior duplicates) and keep only
the best. If you can use Photoshop, even a little bit,
open your RAW file in Photoshop and go to File > Save
As > TIFF file, which will then serve as your master.
When opening images in Photoshop, always choose to
work in the Adobe 1998 color space. Then ATTACH
your caption information to the picture file by going to
File > File Info and enter, at the very least, your name
in the Copyright field and basic caption information
in the Description field. If you use Photoshop's latest
version, CS2, this should all go smoothly, and any copy
you make from this master will contain the caption
information you entered (unless you choose the Save
for Web option).
Camera RAW formats are proprietary and unique to
each camera manufacturer. This lack of standardization
can lead to difficulties. If you don't have Photoshop,
one of the best solutions is to set up an Excel spread-
sheet with your captions identified by a unique image
number. Your spreadsheet can then be burned to a CD
with your RAW files so that they stay together. Essential
caption info includes the name of the subject, common
and full scientific names for animals or plants featured
in the photo, any special behavior or attribute shown,
and the locality where the picture was taken. Don't
Another option, only for Windows users: download
the free PixVue image management software. It is
extremely friendly, is integrated with Photoshop, and
has received great reviews: http://www.pixvue.com/.
For Mac users, a new digital image editing/managing
program called "Aperture" has been released. Though
pricey and still in its infancy, it is one to keep an eye on.
Adobe is also developing new software that expands the
capabilities of the Bridge feature in CS2, to be marketed
under the name "Lightroom." Adobe says it will be "an
efficient, powerful way to import, select, develop and
showcase large volumes of digital images. It allows you
to spend less time sorting and organizing images." Its
beta test version works on the Mac platform, but soon
it will be available for Windows. A word to the wise:
always be wary of new software releases - new releases
are frequently full of bugs and in need of fundamental
enhancements. I usually wait at least a year before
taking the plunge.
Not all CD-Rs are Created Equal - I recently received
an important memo from the American Society of
Media Photographers (July 2003) and have included
excerpts in the following paragraphs. Which kind of
medium should I use? There is no "best" medium for
all recorders. You can't tell how well a disc will work
just by looking at it; the only way to know is to put it in
*your* recorder, write a disc, then put it in *your* reader
and try it. Statements to the effect that "dark green"
is better than "light green" are absurd. Some discs are
more translucent than others, but that doesn't matter:
they only have to reflect light in the 780nm wavelength,
not the entire visible spectrum. It's probably a good idea
to start by selecting a medium that is certified for your
recorder's desired write speed. Speed considerations
are more important for CD-RW than CD-R. Mlany
drives refuse to record at speeds higher than the disc is
rated for. on top of that, there are "ultra speed+" blanks
(for 32x recording), "ultra speed" blanks (for 8x-24x),
"high speed" blanks (for 4x-10x) and "standard" blanks
(for lx-4x). The faster blanks are labeled with a "high
Speed CD-RW" or "Ultra Speed CD-RW" logo, and
will not work in older drives.
The Orange Book standard was written based on
the original "green" cyanine discs from Taiyo Yuden.
Cyanine dye is more forgiving of marginal read/write
power variations than "gold" phthalocyanine dye, mak-
ing them easier to read on some drives. On the other
hand, phthalocyanine is less sensitive to sunlight and
UV radiation, suggesting that they would last longer
under adverse conditions. Manufacturers ofphthalo-
cyanine-based media claim it has a longer lifespan and
will work better in higher speed recording than cyanine
discs. Some good technical information is available
from http://www.mscience.com/. In particular, "Are
green CD-R discs better than gold or blue ones?" at
There is no guarantee that brand X will be the absolute
best in recorder Y. however, some brands are recom-
mended more often than others. It does pay to be
brand-conscious. Brands most often recommended:
Mitsui. Kodak, Taiyo Yuden, and TDK. Sometimes
Pioneer and Ricoh. It appears that HP, Philips, Sony,
Yamaha, and Fuji use these manufacturers for most
of their disks. (Kodak no longer manufactures me-
dia.) Brands that are often trashed: Maxell, Verbatim,
Memorex, Ritek, Hotan, Princo, Gigastorage, Lead
Data, Fornet, CMC Magnetics. Many "no-name"
bulk CD-Rs are one of these brands. Sometimes a
particular line of discs from a particular manufacturer
or reseller will be better than others from the same
company. For example, Verbatim DataLifePlus discs
are recognized as pretty good, but Verbatim ValuLife
are seen as being of much lower quality. Sometimes
company names change. For example, in June 2003
Mitsui Advanced Media was purchased from Mitsui
Chemicals by Computer Support Italcard (CSI) of Italy
to form MAM-A, Inc. The country of manufacture
may also be significant. Some manufacturers maintain
plants in different countries, and don't always maintain
the same level of quality.
In humid tropical climates, care must be taken to find
discs that stand up to the weather. One user reported
that the data layer on Sony CDQ 74CN discs began
cracking after a couple of months in an otherwise shel-
tered environment (e.g. no direct sunlight). Mitsubishi
CD-R 700 and Melody 80 Platinum discs fared much
CD-RWs are expected to last about 25 years under
ideal conditions (i.e. you write it once and then leave
it alone). Repeated rewrites will accelerate this. In
general, CD-RW media aren't recommended for long-
term backups or archives of valuable data.
The rest of this section applies to CD-R. The manu-
facturers claim 75 years (cyanine dye, used in "green"
discs), 100 years (phthalocyanine dye, used in "gold"
discs), or even 200 years ("advanced" phthalocyanine
dye, used in "platinum" discs) once the disc has been
written. The shelf-life of an unrecorded disc has been
estimated at between 5 and 10 years. There is no
standard agreed-upon way to test discs for lifetime
viability. Accelerated aging tests have been done, but
they may not provide a meaningful analogue to real-
Exposing the disc to excessive heat, humidity, or to di-
rect sunlight will greatly reduce the lifetime. In general,
CD-Rs are far less tolerant of environmental conditions
than pressed CDs, and should be treated with greater
care. The easiest way to make a CD-R unusable is to
scratch the top surface. Find a CD-R you don't want
anymore, and try to scratch the top (label side) with
your fingernail, a ballpoint pen, a paper clip, and any-
thing else you have handy. The results may surprise
you. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place, and they
will probably live longer than you do (emphasis on
"probably"). Some newsgroup reports have complained
of discs becoming unreadable in as little as three years,
but without knowing how the discs were handled and
stored such anecdotes are useless. Try to keep a little
perspective on the situation: a disc that degrades very
little over 100 years is useless if it can't be read in your
CD-ROM drive today. One user reported that very
inexpensive CD-Rs deteriorated in a mere six weeks,
despite careful storage.
Some discs are better than others. An interesting
article by Fred Langa (of http://www.langa.com) on
jhtml?articlelD=15800263&pgno=1 describes how to
detect bad discs, and discusses whether putting an adhe-
sive label on the disc causes them to fail more quickly.
See "Do gold CD-R discs have better longevity than
green discs?" on http://www.mscience.com/faq53.html.
An interesting document entitled "Care and Handling
of CDs and DVDs - A Guide for Librarians and Ar-
chivists" can be found on the websites for the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the
Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).
View it on the web as a PDF from http://www.itl.nist.
gov/div8 95 /carefordisc/CDandDVDCareandhan-
dlingGuide.pdf. It has a wealth of information about
disc composition and longevity, as well as recommenda-
tions for extending the lifespan of your media.
IIF Funding Priorities
The ISG brainstormed to compile the following list
of funding priorities for each project (not listed in
Anegada - C. pinguis
Implement Island Conservation predator control
program. Nest identification and hatchling collec-
tion. 2005 headstart release monitoring. Education
materials. Publish recovery plan.
Turks and Caicos - C. carinata
Cat eradication. Implementation of Island Conser-
vation recommendations. Continued monitoring
of translocated populations. Rescue of additional
founders from Big Ambergris. Formation of nonprofit
organization. Publish recovery plan.
Dominican Republic - C. ricordi
Helicopter surveys of south shore of Lago Enriquillo,
Pedernales, Cabritos, and subsequent ground work
based on the surveys. Capacity building and education
on south shore and continued in Pedernales. Salary
for field worker on the south shore. Publish recovery
Jamaica - C collei
Rick Van Veen's salary. Transportation fuel. Deep cycle
battery. Radio transmitters. Vehicle.
Mona - C. cornuta stejnegeri
Per diem for volunteers. Facilitator for PHVA. Field
surveys for population estimates.
Little Cayman - C nubila caymanensis
Land acquisition of communal nesting site at Preston
Grand Cayman - C. ewisi
Land purchase fund-raising. Release and monitoring
of headstarts in Salina. Pre-release health screening.
Initiation ofhatchling study. Security fence for captive
facility. Funding to publish recovery plan. Increase
captive facility pen space. Comprehensive population
(captive and wild) genetic analysis.
Cuba - C. nubila nubila
Obtain Cuban blood samples throughout island for
Educational material: funding for development, imple-
mentation, and distribution for general public and
schools. Tourism: standardized signs for habitat/species
conservation (No Feeding message, etc.) and evaluating
tourist impacts (health, behavior, etc.). Formation of
subgroup to address tourism issue (S. Buckner).
Andros - C. cychlura cychlura
Public education initiative. Government involvement
in designating protected areas. Full-time educator and
evaluation. Publish recovery plans.
Continued monitoring of Pasture Cay. Additional
translocations from Leaf to Pasture Cay. Address the
potential tourism impact with education/awareness.
Allen's Cay - C. cychlura inornata
Survey unauthorized translocations. Identify source
populations. Assessment of feral animals. Long-term
monitoring. Replace signs.
Booby Cay - C. carinata
Annual monitoring. Remove goats.
C. rileyi rileyi
Monitor 2004 translocation from Green to Cut Cay.
C. rileyi cristata
Monitor Hollywood filming impacts on White Cay.
Assess the potential for reestablishment on Antigua.
Comprehensive status survey of all the islands
(M. Breuil and R. Powell).
Phylogenetic analysis of the species. Sampling in South
America (entire region particularly Venezuela and Co-
lombia) and Lesser Antilles (Grenadines, St. Vincent,
Bay Islands, and others).
St. Lucia- Iguana iguana
Remote video cameras. Ongoing education efforts.
Central America - Ctenosaura
Check Simon Stuart's global reptile assessment. Phy-
logenetic analysis of the genus to determine species
boundaries. Status surveys of the local endemics.
Resolution of species issues.
Evaluate captive and wild population for hybrids
and evaluate diversity of captives. Purchase of land
($100,000+++). Visit offshore cays and Cayos Cochi-
nos for evaluate potential for translocation.
Establish geographic and taxonomic boundaries.
Status survey and phylogenetic analysis.
Survey for habitat suitability.
Fiji - Brachylophus
Consult with Harlow on 2006 priorities.
Joint ISG and IIP Meeting 2006
The ISG annual meeting is planned for
November 2006 on Puerto Rico and will
be held in conjunction with the annual IIF
meeting. Miguel Garcia will be coordinating
the event and will soon provide final dates.
Banbury, B.L. and Y.M. Ramos. The rock iguanas of
Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos. Iguana 12(4):256-261.
Bradley, KA. and G.E Gerber. 2005. Conservation of the
Anegada iguana (Cyclurapinguis). Iguana 12(2):79-85.
Burton, F.J. 2005. Blue iguana update. Iguana
Burton, F.J. 2005. Restoring a new wild population
of blue iguanas (Cyclura lewisi) in the Salina Reserve,
Grand Cayman. Iguana 12(3):166-174.
Durden, L.A. and C.R. Knapp. 2005. Ticks parasit-
izing reptiles in the Bahamas. Medical and Veterinary
Ehrenberger, J. 2005. Pharaoh: a tribute. Iguana
Goodman, R.M., A.C. Echternacht, and EJ. Burton.
2005. Spatial ecology of endangered iguana, Cyclura
lewisi, in a disturbed setting on Grand Cayman.
J. Herpetology 39(3):402-408.
Goodman, R.M. and F.J. Burton. 2005. Cyclura lewisi
(Grand Cayman blue iguana) hatchlings. Herpetologi-
cal Review 36(2):176.
Knapp, C.R 2005. Working to save theAndros iguana.
Knapp, C.R. and A.K. Owens. 2005. Home range and
habitat associations of a Bahamian iguana: implications
for conservation. Animal Conservation 8:269-278.
Lemm, J.M., S.W. Steward, and T.E Schmidt. 2005.
Reproduction of the critically endangered Anegada
iguana Cyclura pinguis at San Diego Zoo. International
Zoo Yearbook 39:141-152.
Pagni, L. and D. Ballou. 2005. Value-added conserva-
tion science: outreach activities that support conserva-
tion of the Anegada iguana. Iguana 12(2):86-89.
Rupp, E., S. Inchiustegui, and Y. Arias. Conservation
of Cyclura ricordii'in the southwestern Dominican Re-
public and a brief history of the Grupo Jaragua. Iguana
ISG Contact Information
Allison Alberts, Co-Chair
Zoological Society of San Diego
Fredric Burton, Deputy Chair
National Trust for the Cayman Islands
Richard Hudson, Co-Chair
Fort Worth Zoo
Email: RH firstname.lastname@example.org
Miguel Garcia, Deputy Chair
Department of Natural and Environmental
Resources, Puerto Rico
Published by the
Zoological Society of San Diego
Applied Animal Ecology Division
15600 San Pasqual Valley Road,
Escondido, CA 92027
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