Conservation / Andros Iguana

The Andros Iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura) is a large Rock Iguana that can attain close to five feet in total length and weigh over 15 lbs. The species is restricted to Andros Island in the Bahamas, which is actually a group consisting of three large inhabited islands and dozens of uninhabited cays separated by saline tidal channels.

The islands and cays of Andros are made of jagged, xeric limestone, punctuated by sinkholes. Vegetation consists of pine-forested interiors, surrounded by mangrove swamp, grading into mud flats. The iguanas feed on the fruits and flowers of many of the native plant species and play an important role as seed dispersers. With very little substrate available on any of the islands or cays, female Andros Iguanas deposit their eggs in termite mounds, laying clutches of 5-18 eggs and aggressively guarding their nests for up to 10 weeks.

Andros Iguana

Large portions of Andros’ natural habitat were destroyed decades ago by large-scale logging operations for Caribbean Pine and habitat continues to be cleared as the human population of the islands increases. Andros Iguanas are subject to predation by feral animals such as dogs, cats and hogs. Unlike any other of the island iguana populations, the primary threat to the Andros Iguana is from illegal hunting for food; many of the largest animals of reproductive size are killed and eaten. As populations of Andros Iguanas shrink and become more fragmented, breeding opportunities decrease and genetic diversity decreases. The region is also known to be subject to periodic cataclysmic tropical storms, which have the potential for a devastating impact on the iguana population.

Local communities on Andros need to be made aware of the importance and uniqueness of this extraordinary animal. The IRCF is joining with the Bahamas National Trust to help fulfill this goal by erecting signs at strategic points in each community in Central and Southern Andros, and by developing an educational brochure for students and adults alike to learn more about their special iguana.
You can help us save and keep the unique Andros Rock Iguana by donating to the BNT Andros Rock Iguana fund.

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3rd discovery of a new species during Exo Terra expedition