FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 10, 2013
CONTACT: San Diego Zoo Global
Photo News Release
San Diego Zoo Global Marks Milestone with First Hatching of Jamaican Iguana
Zoo Part of Global Team Preserving Critically Endangered Species
An 11-day-old Jamaican iguana is held by Jeff Lemm, a senior research coordinator for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. This iguana’s arrival marks the first time this species has been successfully bred at the Institute. The successful hatching of a Jamaican iguana is also a milestone for San Diego Zoo Global because it has now successfully bred the world’s three most endangered lizard species - Grand Cayman iguana, Anegada iguana and the Jamaican iguana.
Jamaican iguanas are found only in the tropical dry forests of the Hellshire Hills outside of Kingstown, Jamaica. They are the largest native animal in Jamaica and were believed to be extinct in the 1940s. However, in 1990, a pig hunter’s dog captured an iguana, which was then brought to the Hope Zoo in Kingston. That same year, a survey of the Hellshire Hills found a small population of fewer than 100 iguanas, and researchers began a large-scale program to try to save the iguana from extinction. However, due to deforestation and the infestation of non-native animals like mongooses, cats, dogs and pigs, the Jamaican iguana is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
San Diego Zoo Global is one of several organizations in North America working to produce a captive, self-sustaining population of Jamaican iguanas to ensure genetic diversity for the species’ worldwide population. The male iguana that hatched on August 30, 2013, is a second-generation captive-bred animal. His parents hatched in the first successful breeding of the species at the Indianapolis Zoo in 2006.
Photo taken on September 10, 2013, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Global
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