Iguanas reproducing on Galapagos island, more than a century after disappearing

September 20, 2022
Nature
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Image Source: https://www.abc.net.au/

A land iguana that disappeared more than a century ago from one of the Galapagos islands is reproducing naturally following its reintroduction there.

The reptile from the Conolophus subcristatus species, one of three  living on the archipelago, disappeared from Santiago Island in the early part of the 20th century according to a 1903-06 expedition there by the California Academy of Sciences, Ecuador’s environment ministry said.

In 2019, the Galapagos National Park authority reintroduced more than 3,000 iguanas from a nearby island to restore the natural ecosystem of Santiago, which lies at the centre of the Pacific archipelago.

The remote island chain was made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin’s observations on evolution there.

In 1835, Darwin recorded a huge number of iguanas of all ages on Santiago.

Galapagos National Park authority director Danny Rueda said that, “187 years later, we are once again seeing a healthy population of land iguanas.

“We found males, females, youths and newborns. This means the iguanas in Santiago Island are reproducing in a successful way and they are carrying out their corresponding ecological role.

The return of the species to the island means these animals once again play their role in the ecosystem by creating paths, removing soil, dispersing seeds and even providing food for animals such as sparrowhawks, Mr Rueda said.

Located close to 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos islands are home to unique flora and fauna and are a Natural World Heritage site.

Story Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-02/iguana-comeback-galapagos-island/101293642

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