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HomeUncategorized"A great conservation achievement": land iguanas are born again on a Galapagos...

“A great conservation achievement”: land iguanas are born again on a Galapagos island after almost two centuries

In 1835, Charles Darwin recorded the presence of a large number of ‘Conolophus subcristatus’ of different ages on Santiago Island, but expeditions conducted 70 years later did not find any living specimen, so the species was considered locally extinct.

The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador has announced that after almost two centuries land iguanas of the species ‘Conolophus subcristatus’ have been reborn on one of the islands of the archipelago.

The statement explains that in 1835 the British naturalist Charles Darwin recorded the presence of a large number of specimens of different ages of this reptile on the island of Santiago, but in the expeditions that the California Academy of Sciences carried out in 1903 and 1906, no living specimen was found, so the species was considered locally extinct.

In 2002 the ecological restoration of the island, one of the largest in the archipelago. One of the measures carried out was to eradicate goats and pigs, which caused the ecosystem to recover over time and offer the necessary conditions to house a population of land iguanas.

Three years ago, 3,143 specimens of ‘Conolophus subcristatus’ were reintroduced with the aim of restoring the island’s ecosystem and, now, after exploring around 36 square kilometers of land, new individuals of various ages have been found, which shows that the species is reproducing successfully.

“Healthy population”

“187 years later, we are once again witnessing a healthy population of land iguanas, with adults, juveniles and neonates on Santiago Island,” said Danny Rueda Córdova, director of the Galapagos National Park.

In this sense, he pointed out that “it is a great conservation achievement” that strengthens the hopes of restoring the islands, which have been severely affected by introduced species. “As an environmental authority, we will continue with the implementation of actions that allow us to get closer to the integrity of the island ecosystem,” he assured.

For his part, Luis Ortiz-Catedral, responsible for the expedition and scientific advisor, indicated that the aforementioned island has already begun to show positive changes thanks to the distribution of the iguanas, as they open roads, remove the earth and disperse seeds. Likewise, he predicted that in some years changes in population dynamics and a greater availability of food for other endemic species such as sparrowhawks will be observed.

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