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This rare blue iguana, found only in the Cayman Islands, is showing signs of coming back from the brink of extinction. Earlier this month the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded their status from critically endangered to endangered.
A decade ago there were no more than 10 to 25 individuals left in the wild. Now, thanks to an intensive recovery program, there are an estimated 750 of the lizards. However, with human encroachment and habitat loss, the endangered classification is about the best that can be hoped for. The population will never return to what it once was. The long-term goal is to still build the numbers to over 1,000 individuals.
The iguana is the largest native species on Grand Cayman with the ability to grow to five feet in length and once inhabited much of the island. Their numbers were decimated due to habitat destruction, car accidents, and encounters with cats and dogs.
The Blue Iguana Recovery Program includes research, habitat protection, and monitoring of the animals and their movements. Iguanas bred in captivity are also released into the wild through this program.
Source: Mother Nature Network
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger