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Publication Type
Book Chapter
Author, Analytic
Wilson, Byron S.; Grant, Tandora; van Veen, Rick; Hudson, R; D Fleuchaus, D; Robinson, O; Stephenson, Kimberley A.
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Title, Analytic
The Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei): A Report on 25 years of Conservation Effort
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Author, Monographic
Iverson, J B; Grant, TD; Knapp, C R; Pasachnik, S A
Author Role
Editors
Title, Monographic
Iguanas: Biology, Systematics, and Conservation: Herpetological Conservation and Biology 11 (Monograph 6)
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Page(s)
237-254
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Abstract
Considered extinct by the late 1940s, the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) was re-discovered in 1970, and its existence confirmed in 1990. The 1970 re-discovery went largely unnoticed; in contrast, the 1990 “re-discovery” spawned a successful international recovery effort. Here we summarize results of that 25-year C. collei recovery effort. We also assess the project’s achievement of overall objectives, and offer some recommendations for ensuring the long-term persistence of the species. Early interventions such as protecting nesting sites and collecting hatchlings for captive breeding and headstarting likely averted the extinction of C. collei. Subsequent conservation activities have focused on recovering the remnant population, securing protection for the Hellshire Hills, and establishing a re-introduced population on the Goat Islands. Biological interventions such as nest site protection and headstarting have been demonstrably effective. Most notably, the number of nesting iguanas in the core population increased at least six-fold between 1991 and 2013. Unfortunately, habitat protection initiatives have met with far less success. Illegal tree cutting for charcoal production continues to degrade Hellshire’s remnant forest, and enforcement of existing laws remains an elusive goal. Despite the declaration of the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA) in 1999, inclusive of the iguana’s entire Hellshire Hills refuge and both Goat Islands, the area continues to be considered for large-scale development projects promoted by the government. A recent (2013) plan to develop a large Chinese-funded port facility and industrial complex in the PBPA is the most worrisome proposal yet presented, and would cripple the iguana’s prospects for future survival. The Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei): A Report on 25 Years of Conservation Effort (PDF Download Available).....
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