Stichting Doelgroep Groene Leguanen | Forum (Registreren is niet meer mogelijk)

Full Version: Samenvatting behandelde wetenschappelijke publicaties te Guatemala
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
In Guatemala hebben we volgende wetenschappelijke publicaties behandeld:

2011 Update for the Anegada Iguana, Cyclura pinguis, Conservation Program

Bradley, Kelly A.
Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76110, USA.

The Anegada iguana headstart program is heading into its 15th year. Because of the partnership between the Iguana Specialist Group and the British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust, over 150 animals have been released back to the wild. We will highlight activities that have taken place during 2011 field season including: the Fort Worth Zoo’s new Conservation Expedition for undergraduate students, nest surveys and hatchling collection, our annual burrow survey, facility renovations, a tour with the Governor of the BVI, release of additional iguanas into a new site, and preparations for an upcoming collaboration on a remote sensing project with Dr. Greg McDermid of the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary.


Population Biology of the Roatán Spiny-Tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura oedirhina)


Campbell, Ashley*1; Stesha A. Pasachnik2
1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33431-6424, USA.
2Bay Islands Foundation, Roatán, Honduras.

Ctenosuara oedirhina is endemic to the island of Roatán, Honduras and is listed as Endangered by the IUCN. This lizard has a limited range and is threatened with habitat loss and over-harvesting. To protect and manage the small population of ~2,500 individuals, information on the life history, habitat usage, and population genetics is necessary. We will be using mark-recapture, distance sampling surveys, and GIS mapping of environmental variables to determine patterns of habitat usage and population structure. Population genetics will be done in a collaborative study. This data will be used to develop resource selection functions that will model the iguana’s niche on the island. These functions will help determine sub-population boundaries, identify areas that should be protected from further development, and locate possible nest site locations to investigate. The life history data will also help build a life table for the species. If nest sites can be located, then hatchling life history and adult fecundity can be studied to complete the life table. The habitat usage map, life table, and population genetics will then be used in a population viability analysis that will be able to predict potential threats to the population and help plan for long-term management.


Population Estimates of Ricords’ Iguana (Cyclura ricordi) in the Dominican Republic

Carreras, Rosanna*1; Liz A. Paulino2; Ernst Rupp3; Yolanda León1,3
1Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo Av. Los Próceres, Galá Distrito Nacional, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo Av. Alma Mater Zona Universitaria, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
3Grupo Jaragua El Vergel No. 33 El Vergel, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Ricords’ iguana (Cyclura ricordi) is one of the two species of rock iguanas of Hispaniola Island (the other one is Cyclura cornuta cornuta). Unlike C. cornuta, Ricords’ have a restricted distribution in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. In 1996, the population of this iguana was estimated between 2 and 4 thousands individuals based on expert’s criteria. In this study, we are presenting the results of the first population estimate done in a systematic manner in all its current distribution area. Much field work has been done by Grupo Jaragua since 2005 to determine the area of occupancy with geo-referenced sightings. Three separate areas were identified as important habitat for the species: 1) Cabritos island, 2) south of Enriquillo Lake and 3) the west of Pedernales. The used methodology was a stratified transects sampling based on vegetation and elevations parameters, all of these identified over a SPOT satellite image mosaic of a recent date (2006-present). Current distribution maps and densities are presented, along with the optimal habitat implications results and the present threats.


Insights to the Genetic Structure of Andros Iguanas (Cyclura cychlura cychlura)

Colosimo, Giuliano*1; Kelsie Brock1; Charles Knapp2; Mark Welch1.
1Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, 219 Harned Hall, 295 Lee Blvd, Starkville, MS 39762, USA.
2Daniel P. Haerter Center for conservation and Research, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL 60605

The Andros Iguana, Cyclura cychlura cychlura, is the largest native land animal on Andros Island, Bahamas, and is listed as endangered by the IUCN. Although Andros is considered to be the largest island in the Bahamian archipelago it is actually composed of numerous islets. Major threats to the species persistence include predation by feral mammals, habitat destruction, and hunting pressure by humans. Moreover, the continuing fragmentation of the habitat represents potential barrier to gene flow between extant populations. If this is true, then local populations may represent evolutionarily isolated and independent units that require special consideration during conservation planning. It is also possible that some sink populations are dependent on migrants from larger source colonies. Thus, identifying source populations becomes critical for taxon survival. To test this hypothesis, we have sampled animals from representative populations throughout the range of occupancy on Andros Island. Sampled animals were genotyped at three microsatellite loci that were originally developed for congeners. Preliminary alleles frequency data suggest that populations of C. c. cychlura on Andros are significantly isolated from one another (FST ~ 0.10, p < 0.01). This finding suggests low gene flow and, hence, the potential for local adaptation to specific habitat conditions.


Population Matrix Models for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wild Ctenosaurs

Díaz-Juárez, Gabriela*; Víctor H. Reynoso
Depto. de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Circuito Interior, Ciudad Universitaria, México D.F. C.P. 04510. E-

Population projection matrix models (PPM) are essential to understand the dynamic population tendencies and demographic properties of wild species. Using prospective perturbation analysis (sensitivity and elasticity) we can predict the probability of permanence and the effect of continuous changes of vital rates (fecundity, growth and survival) that contribute to the finite population growth rate (λ) in specific environmental conditions. In our study we emphasize the convenience to use PPM to evaluate the deterioration of natural populations of ctenosaur iguanas. As a concrete example we discuss field sampling and data analysis of C. oxacana and C. pectinata that inhabit simpatricaly in the region Nizanda, southern Oaxaca, México. These iguanas face a drastic populations decline caused mainly by the hunting pregnant females. PPM to infer changes in key life history parameters, which causes great impact on λ, will lead us to know the age at which the species is more vulnerable. This information is key to design management plans and long-term preservation strategies to ensure sustainable use by maintaining viable populations.


Captive Management of Ctenosaurs: Genetic Considerations for Conservation

Félix-Ortiz, Maria Reyna1; José Luis Arcos-García1; Víctor H. Reynoso*2
1Universidad del Mar. Campus Puerto Escondido, Puerto Escondido, Mixtepec, 71 980, Apdo. Postal 208, Juquila, Oaxaca, México.
2Depto. de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Circuito Interior, Ciudad Universitaria, México D.F. C.P. 04510.

Recently, genetic studies have assessed the bases for the utilization of genetic information for conservation planning. In ctenosaur iguanas microsatellites has been very useful to describe population genetics, genetic flow between contact lineages and mating systems, providing elements to re-direct conservation strategies. These tools are also useful to evaluate reproductive systems in captive breed populations being created for the reestablishment wild populations. The Ctenosaura pectinata population in the Centro de Conservación y Reproduction de Iguanas de la Universidad del Mar (CECOREI-UMAR) has been kept without any gene exchange neither with other iguana farms or the wild since it was created. To restructure the breeding system within the farm we are evaluating the genetic variability, endogamy and parent relationships within the facility. A bad management will affect importantly the captive population, resulting in lower reproduction and survival rates. Low genetic diversity caused by endogamy will forbid liberation of produced specimens because they can bias genic and genotipic proportions in the wild. Correct breeding systems within a conservation facility are imperative to make captive breeding as a good alternative to rescue wild populations.

Now what? The Mona Island Iguana Recovery Program

Garcia, Miguel A.1,4; Maria Eglée Perez2,4; Raymond L. Tremblay3,4; Alberto Alvarez1,4; Cielo Figuerola4,5
1Department of Natural Resources and Environment, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931, USA.
2Department of Mathematics, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931, USA.
3Department of Biology, 100 carr. 908, University of Puerto Rico – Humacao campus, Humacao, Puerto Rico 00792, USA.
4Crest-Catec, Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, P. O. Box 23341, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931, USA.
5Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931, USA.

In over 15 years of research, we have gathered biological data on the following aspects of the endangered Mona Island Iguana: nesting success rates, juvenile mortality, predator impact, dispersal, home range, health condition of adult animals, habitat use and an estimate of the overall Iguana population size on Mona Island. These accomplishments coupled with the implementation of two conservation initiatives: (1) a predator control, and (2) a head-start to increase the number of juvenile iguana into the breeding population-head start, have advanced significantly the recovery potential of this species. Moreover, a PVA and an update recovery plan will be completed in the near future. To date, we seek to start an intense feral cat eradication project. This has been ranked as the top-most critical action --where financial and human resources need to be directed to recover this species.


The Pink Land Iguana from Galápagos: Sources of Risk

Gentile, Gabriele
Dipartimento di Biologia, Università Tor Vergata - Via della Ricerca Scientifica,1 - 00133 Roma, Italia.

Conolophus marthae (Gentile and Snell, 2009) is endemic to Galápagos islands and is restricted to a single location (Volcan Wolf, Isabela Island), where it lives in sympatry with a population of C. subcristatus. Based on our data and from reports of the Galápagos National Park since 1986, the species has never been observed outside an area larger than 25 Km2. In recent works (Fulvo, 2010; Gentile and Fulvo, 2011), C. marthae’s effective population size has been estimated as large as 41.21 (30.71-67.97; min/max95%) by using microsatellite data. Mark-recapture data, by applying the Lincoln-Petersen method from two contiguous temporal samples in 2009 and 2010, would indicate 192 adult individuals left (155-260; min/max95%). Although rare and with no evidence of F1 hybrids, hybridization may occur (Gentile et al., 2009; Fulvo, 2010), generating introgression between C. marthae and C. subcristatus in volcano Wolf. Hybridization and introgression have not been fully evaluated, yet. In addition to the Galápagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis), natural predator in volcano Wolf, black rats and feral cats play as introduced predators. In particular, feral cats prey on land iguanas up to three to four years old and are ineradicable from islands as large as Isabela (Nogales et al., 2004). Feral cats could pose a serious threat to C. marthae population recruitment. Further sources of risk, recommendations, and research needs are discussed.


Ten-Year Impact of the International Iguana Foundation

Hudson, Rick*1,2; Tina Bouse2
1Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76110, USA.
2International Iguana Foundation, 1989 Colonial Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76110, USA.

The International Iguana Foundation was founded in August 2001 in Fort Worth, Texas as a 501 ©(3) non-profit organization. Formed in response to the need for consistent funding for critical iguana conservation initiatives, the IIF seeks to ensure the survival of all the iguana species in the Caribbean and elsewhere, through the promotion of a broad conservation agenda involving habitat protection, education, scientific research and captive management. Through annual financial pledges, the IIF Board is able to generate a minimum of $50,000 per year to help fund ongoing field conservation and research projects in areas of critical need. Over the last 10 years, the IIF has provided funding for research, land acquisition, and construction of conservation facilities. As the IIF has grown, the impact on global iguana conservation has expanded.

The House That Jack Built: Mice, Owls, Shearwaters, Iguanas, Humans, and Hurricanes in the Bahamas

Iverson, John
Department of Biology, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana 47374, USA.

The Allen Cays iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata) occurs primarily on only three small islands in the Allen Cays (Leaf, U, and Allen Cay; total population ca. 1000; excluding introduced populations numbering perhaps 250 individuals) in the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas and is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Unfortunately, house mice have been introduced to one of the three islands (Allen Cay), and they are attracting non-native barn owls that are decimating the Audubon Shearwater population on the cay, as well as potentially impacting the iguana population. In April 2011 we were awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant (Horizon oil spill mitigation money) to temporarily remove the iguanas from Allen Cay so that the mice can be eradicated before they spread and do more damage. Fieldwork to remove the iguanas was undertaken in May and August 2011, but the latter trip was cut short by Hurricane Irene before we could relocate all the iguanas. An additional trip must therefore be carried out in May 2012 to complete the removal, followed immediately in May and June by the rodent extermination.


Population Monitoring and Ocular Health of the Andros iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura)

Knapp, Charles*1; Kimberlee Wojick2
1Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research, John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605, USA.
2Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907, USA.

A team of researchers from Shedd Aquarium, citizen scientists, and staff from the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) visited Andros Island from 1 to 6 May 2011 to continue a 12-year study of the Andros Iguana, Cyclura cychlura cychlura. Select objectives of this expedition were to 1) continue a long-term mark-recapture study, 2) collect blood samples from northern localities in order to increase the intra-island range of sampled sites, and 3) perform ocular examinations. We captured a record 52 iguanas (20 males, 32 females) over the six-day expedition. Iguanas were captured from seven locations, including four new localities without previous capture histories. We performed ocular health assessments, and collected baseline data for tear production and intraocular pressure in this species because both parameters can change significantly with disease. Knowledge of baseline values in a wild population is therefore vital for the correct diagnosis and treatment of disease in managed and wild iguanas. Tear production was quantified using phenol-red impregnated cotton thread. Intraocular pressure was measured by rebound tonometry. There were no significant differences between male and female iguanas for either intraocular pressure (IOP) or tear production measurements. Both IOP and tear production were positively correlated with snout-vent-length. Data obtained from this research will be published in 2012 and made available to biologists and veterinarians working with similar species.


Body Size, Demography, and Body Condition in Ctenosaura bakeri

Martínez, Andrea*1; Stesha A. Pasachnik1; Chad E. Montgomery2, Nardiah Belal3; Steve Clayson1; Shane Faulkner3
1Bay Islands Foundation, Roatán, Honduras,
2Truman State University, Kirksville, MO, USA,
3Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK,

Ctenosaura bakeri, Utila Spiny-tailed Iguana, is Critically Endangered and listed under CITES Appendix II. This species occupies a portion of Utila, a continental island off the northern coast of Honduras. Habitat destruction and over-harvesting for consumption and the pet trade are top threats facing the species. Though first described in 1901 (Stejneger) and currently the focus of a local conservation program, little is known concerning that basic biology of the species. Combining data collected over six years we examined sexual size dimorphism, demography, and body condition within the species. Adult males have significantly longer snout-vent length (SVL) and relative tail length than adult females, however the relationship of mass to SVL is not significantly different between the sexes. Over the course of the study period the sex ratio became more male biased. Body condition index varied among study sites across the study period. Our results indicate that habitat destruction is negatively affecting Ctenosaur body condition and poaching is negatively affecting the adult female population in some areas. Conservation measures for this species should be directed at habitat protection and increased education and enforcement of anti-poaching laws, such as those currently in place by the Utila Iguana Research and Breeding Station.


Natural History and Conservation of Ctenosaura melanosterna

Montgomery, Chad E.*1; Stesha A. Paschnik2; Leslie Ruyle3
1Biology Department, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO 63501, USA.
2Bay Islands Foundation, Roatán, Honduras.
3Applied Biodiversity Science Program,Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2258, USA.

The Honduran spiny tailed iguana, C. melanosterna, is considered endangered according to the IUCN redlist and has recently been added to CITES Appendix II. The species is endemic to Honduras, and is considered one of the most vulnerable species of reptile in Honduras. We examined the natural history and conservation biology of C. melanosterna on Cayos Cochinos Pequeno, Honduras from 2007 to 2011. Adult males are significantly longer (SVL) and heavier than adult females, however the relationship between mass and SVL is not significantly different between the sexes. Adult males have significantly longer tails for a given SVL than adult females. Males grow at a significantly greater rate than females throughout life. There is no difference in the tail break frequency between the sexes. Hatchlings emerge from nests from the end of June through August at an average length of 6.0cm and 6.25g. The species faces a number of threats including poaching and the filming of a reality television show on the islands. On ongoing outreach and education program has been developed, including the construction of a conservation education center within the archipelago.


To Plan or Not to Plan - An Assessment of the ISG’s Species
Recovery Planning Process


Pagni, Lee
ISG member and conservation education and planning consultant, 55 Tuolumne St. Sonora, CA 95370, USA.

Planning plays a critical role in biological conservation. The IUCN/Species Survival Commission Iguana Specialist Group (ISG) regularly assists with the creation of species-based conservation plans. Though these plans can have different names (recovery, action, or conservation and management plans), they all have commonalities such as a 3-5 year time horizon, focus on a single species, and adherence to a framework of actions in areas of policy, management, research and education. I assessed the number of activities completed for 4 different species recovery plans- Cyclura collei, Cyclura carinata carinata, Cyclura cychlura cychlura, and Cyclura pinguis. The results of this assessment show that on average, only about 1/3 of the activities were completed within the time horizon of the plan. While this result does not necessarily indicate failure, it does compel us to review the entire species recovery plan process to make sure it is meeting our goals for species recovery and/or management.

Conserving Roatan’s Spiny-Tailed Iguanas through Research, Outreach and Education.

Pasachnik, Stesha
Bay Islands Foundation, Honduras.

Ctenosaura oedirhina, Roatan’s spiny-tailed iguana, is listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List due to harvesting for consumption and its limited and fragmented geographic range. In addition, C. oedirhina has just been included in CITES Appendix II due to the recent appearance of this and closely related species in the international pet trade. Previous to this study little was known concerning the basic biology, population size, extent of occurrence, and threats to this species. Thus, it was crucial that C. oedirhina be studied and managed immediately. The objectives of this project were to: 1) collect life history data, including a population estimate and an evaluation of its distribution; 2) evaluate its current threats; 3) create a management plan in cooperation with local and national organizations; and 4) create a long term education and outreach project on Roatan. The results of this study are twofold. First is the documentation of the life history, population size and threats faced by C. oedirhina. Then this information is available to develop a realistic management plan and education and outreach program focused on the protection of this Endangered species and its remaining habitats, and in collaboration with local stakeholders.


Three Problems of Conservation in the Gulf of California iguanas

Reynoso, Víctor H.*1; Nohelia Pacheco1; José Alberto Cruz1; Yssel Gadar2; José Luis Ortíz3
1Depto. de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Circuito Interior, Ciudad Universitaria, México D.F. C.P. 04510, México. .
2Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste. Mar Bermejo No. 195, Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita, La Paz, B.C.S. C.P. 23090, México.
3Centro Interdiciplinario de Ciencias del Mar. Av. Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita La Paz, B.C.S. C.P. 23096, México.

The conservation status of the gulf of California iguanas is said to be stable because these islands are not human populated nor suitable for touristic development. In our 2010-2011 field trip we noticed iguanas conservation problems in three islands. In Cerralvo Island, large feral cats detected by sighting, skeleton remains and abundant footprints, have altered the behavior of local Ctenosaura hemilopha population by increasing approaching distance to 3 to 4 m. Males, which normally display on top of cacti, were always hiding close to shelters on a steep slope that probably restricts access to feral cats. The most striking evidence is the drop of male size (SVL maximum =22.7; Average 18.31; N=11) compared to other island populations (e.g. San Esteban; SVL maximum = 28.0; Average=23.42; N = 20). In San Pedro Nolasco Island, we detected mitochondrial haplotypes of C. hemilopha from San Esteban Island mixed with the native Nolasco haplotypes that are more closely related to haplotypes in the continent (Sonora). It is known that San Esteban iguanas were introduced into Nolasco by natives. If true, the Nolasco haplotypes are now in a lower frequency than the introduced ones, driving the native genome to extinction. Finally, In San Esteban Island we detected a very sever mass mortality in the adult population counting 81 dead bodies of Sauromalus varius and 16 of C. hemilopha in a three day prospection (1.2 km2). Most bodies did not show any sign of predation and were just lying on the ground. Causes of mortality are unknown.


Phylogeographic Study of Sauromalus

Stephen, Catherine*; Will Collett
Department of Biology, 800 West University Pkwy, MS 179, Utah Valley University, 84058, USA.

Chuckwallas (Sauromalus) are common on rocky desert habitats throughout southwest of the USA, extend into Mexico throughout the Baja peninsula and the Sonoran desert, and occupy many islands in the Sea of Cortez. This is a region with a complex geologic history, which has had the potential to significantly shape species and population boundaries and influence population dynamics such as isolation and expansion, dispersal events, and local extinctions. To date, a total of 45 samples from 30 localities have been gathered in the field and from museum and zoological collections, representing much of the range of the genus. We have collected DNA sequence data from these samples for 1 mitochondrial and 3 nuclear loci. Conspecific polymorphism at these loci is compared to that within other Iguaninae genera. Phylogenetic analyses of these data are considered in terms of the biogeographic history of the genus as well as current nomenclature.


Survey of Status, Trade, and Exploitation of Central American Iguanas

Stephen, Catherine*1; Stesha Pasachnik2,3; Adrian Reuter4; Paola Mosig4; Leslie Ruyle,5,6; Lee Fitzgerald6
1College of Science and Health, Utah Valley University, USA.
2Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, USA.
3Fundacion de Las Islas Bahias, Honduras.
4TRAFFIC North America, Mexico.
5Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, USA.
6Applied Biodiversity Science Program, Texas A&M University, USA.

During 2009 and 2010 data were collected on Central American iguanids concerning exploitation and trade levels and conservation and research efforts within the five CAFTA signatory countries. Site visits to each country included such activities as market surveys and interviews with local NGOs, scientists, iguana breeders, and hunters. The efficacy of iguana farming as a conservation tool and a means of livelihood for rural households was given particular scrutiny during our study. International trade data was compiled and analyzed to assess levels of export and import in various countries. Recommendations regarding enforcement of legal instruments, iguana farming, and conservation efforts are given.


Rescue and Relocation Program for the Critically Endangered Turks and Caicos Iguana

Wagener, Tarren*1; Glenn P. Gerber2
1Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76110, USA.
2San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, 15600 San Pasqual Valley Road Escondido, CA 92027, USA.

Inter-island translocations are a key conservation strategy for the Turks and Caicos iguana. However, suitable islands for translocation are scarce despite a surplus of animals threatened by human development. Intra-island translocation strategies that complement human needs must be found. Big Ambergris Cay supports the largest remaining population of the species and presents an opportunity to determine the effectiveness of intra-island translocations while also mitigating specific threats facing the significant iguana population there. In fall 2011, twenty-four individuals at two study sites were radio-tracked for 14 days to determine an approximate home range. Subjects were then translocated from their home location and moved 0.75 km to the alternate study site. Translocated animals were then radio-tracked for another 14 days to determine movements and homing abilities. Preliminary data indicate that 5 adults (3 males; 2 females) successfully homed back to their primary retreats. Other adults used the translocation area as a home base and did multiple forays to systematically move in the direction of home. No juveniles successfully homed. All animals were bled during capture events to analyze corticosterone and heterophil/lymphocyte ratios to determine stress impacts on the animals.


Assessing the Genetic Impact of Headstarting on Jamaican Iguanas (Cyclura collei) in the Hellshire Hills

Welch, Mark E.*1; Armed Rasberry1; Tandora Grant2; Rick van Veen3; Byron Wilson3
1Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, PO Box GY, Mississippi State, MS, 39762 USA.
2Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global, 15600 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027 USA.
3Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.

Since the 1990 rediscovery of Cyclura collei in Jamaica’s Hellshire Hills, hatchlings have been collected for headstarting at the Hope Zoo in Kingston. Animals were first released from the headstart program in 1996. This program has been extraordinarily successful. It appears to have reversed the trend of declining population size. However, the collection of hatchlings for the headstart program may have favored offspring from a limited sample of the breeding population. We have assessed this potential using six polymorphic microsatellites originally designed for congeners of C. collei. Our findings suggest that a significant amount of genetic variation, 13%, that was present at the onset of the headstart program is absent from recent cohorts of hatchlings, and that allele frequencies in recent cohorts are far more similar to those of animals caught in the immediate vicinity of the known nesting sites. This finding suggests that headstarting has effectively increased the reproductive success of relatively few individuals. It may also indicate that some genetic variation in early cohorts was derived from animals living outside the core area. Since these are long-lived animals, genetic loss may be mitigated or reversed by targeting animals with rare genotypes as genetic stock for future headstart generations.


Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) Taxon Report 2011

Wilson, Byron; Rick van Veen*
University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica

Fieldwork was conducted during every week between November 2010 and October 2011. Periods of extended field activity were conducted during February to early April (pitfall trapping experiment), June (nesting season), and September (hatching season). Other associated projects (crocodile ecology, sea turtle conservation, forest ecology) continue to bolster our presence in the field. Our removal programme targeting non-native predators was operational during every day of the period, and resulted in the removal of numerous invasive mammalian predators, especially mongooses. Seventeen headstarted Iguanas were released in March, bringing the total number of repatriated headstarters to 158. A record number of nesting females was again recorded for the monitored, communal nesting area: 33 in 2011, up from 28 in 2010. This represents a quadrupling of the core nesting population, which stood at eight in 1991. Together with the offspring of animals nesting outside the core communal nesting area, a total of 204 hatchlings were captured and processed, of which 42 were sent to Hope Zoo headstarting. Important new initiatives now underway include (1) a major expansion of the existing invasive predator control programme, and (2) the construction of large artificial nesting areas to accommodate the increasing numbers of females using the core sites.