Unprecedented Win for Conservation in Jamaica!!

International Iguana Foundation and Global Wildlife Conservation Congratulate Jamaica Environment Trust and Government of Jamaica for Thwarting Environmental Catastrophe.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: September 28, 2016

Global Wildlife Conservation and International Iguana Foundation offer their sincere congratulations today, Sept. 28, to Jamaica Environment Trust after receiving the news that the Jamaican Government will not be handing over the Goat Islands to China Harbour Engineering Company to build a proposed $1.5 billion transshipment port. By working with partners to bring transparency to the process and encourage the Jamaican Government to abide by its national and international environmental commitments, JET has led the way in thwarting this ecological disaster in the heart of the Portland Bight Protected Area, the country’s largest nature reserve.

 

“The development would have jeopardized the last remaining habitat of the Critically Endangered Jamaican Iguana in the Hellshire Hills on the mainland, sending more than 25 years of work in recovering the species up in smoke, and killed the vision of creating a haven free of introduced predators for the iguana on the Goat Islands,” said Robin Moore, conservation biologist and GWC communications director. “Having spent so much time involved in this project, and for the most part feeling pretty discouraged about prospects for the area, the species, and all who have worked so hard to bring the iguana back, this news is like a powerful jolt of inspiration.” (Read Moore’s personal account and photos from his trips to the Goat Islands)

 

Under the leadership of Diana McCaulay, Jamaica Environment Trust has worked tirelessly to bring transparency to the process of deciding where else the new transshipment port and logistics hub could be placed, and giving voice to those living within the Portland Bight Protected Area–those who would be directly impacted by the development. JET has also raised concerns over the long-term repercussions of the development to both the health and productivity of the ecosystem and local communities.

 

News that the Jamaican Government would not destroy the Goat Islands came at first in a tweet Sept. 22, relayed from a town hall meeting in New York City in which Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, was asked directly about the status of the islands. Holness elaborated by stating “there are other locations [for the port] that would do less environmental damage.”

 

In April of 2014 and again in September of 2015, Moore traveled to Jamaica to work with JET and IIF partners to bring global attention to the ecological havoc the proposed project would wreak on the Goat Islands and surrounding habitats. The result was the Save Goat Islands documentary, featuring the Jamaican Iguana and highlighting how the transshipment port would likely condemn the endemic species to extinction. Together the partners also secured a number of international news stories and ran a social media campaign around SaveGoatIslands.org and #SaveGoatIslands (now #GoatIslandsSaved).

 

The Portland Bight Protected Area is home to numerous globally threatened plant and wildlife species. Found only in Jamaica, the Jamaican Iguana was presumed extinct for four decades. After a small population was re-discovered in the Hellshire Hills in 1990, an international consortium of conservationists mobilized to develop a program of headstarting, invasive predator control, and re-introduction to boost recovery of the population.

 

Though the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the Jamaican Iguana as Critically Endangered, the IUCN highlights these conservation efforts as “one of the greatest success stories in conservation science.” Recently researchers have observed an eight-fold increase in the number of female Jamaican iguanas nesting in the wild, and the news this week keeps the vision of creating a second haven for the iguanas on the Goat Islands—free from introduced predators—alive.

 

“I think I speak on behalf of numerous passionate individuals and dedicated organizations who have invested blood, sweat, and tears into this project over the past quarter century, in congratulating Prime Minister Holness and the Jamaican Government in making a responsible decision and recognizing the long-term economic benefits of a healthy environment for Jamaicans and thereby keeping this vision alive,” said Rick Hudson, executive director of the International Iguana Foundation, which has helped spearhead the recovery effort for the Jamaican Iguana. “The future for this species depends on preserving the tropical dry forest ecosystem, but the Goat Islands are really the lynchpin in ensuring their long-term survival.”

 

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Photo: Wild adult Jamaican Iguana (above); hatchlings held by Kenroy Booms Williams, project field technician (IIF Home page slider# 1).  Photos by Robin Moore.

Download additional images on GWC’s Flickr page: http://bit.ly/2d6h8B0

 

Global Wildlife Conservation

Global Wildlife Conservation protects endangered species and habitats through science-based field action. GWC envisions a world with diverse and abundant wildlife and is dedicated to ensuring that the species on the verge of extinction are not lost. The global organization brings together scientists, conservationists, policymakers and industry leaders to ensure a truly collaborative approach to species conservation. Learn more at www.globalwildlife.org

 

International Iguana Foundation

The International Iguana Foundation supports conservation, awareness, and scientific programs that enhance the survival of wild iguanas and their habitats. Working to save the most threatened of the world’s 44 iguana species, the IIF provides critical support to field conservation, research and recovery programs. Learn more at http://www.iguanafoundation.org

 

Contact

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Global Wildlife Conservation

 

Rick Hudson, Executive Director

International Iguana Foundation

 

Tandora Grant, IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group Program Officer

San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research

 

David Hedrick, Social Media Manager

International Iguana Foundation

 

2016 IIF Request for Proposals

The International Iguana Foundation is pleased to announce their annual request for proposals for iguana conservation. For more information, application guidelines and budget forms, please go to the Grants menu > Apply for a Grant. A sample of a model application is available to serve as a guide for applicants and to ensure consistency in format. Proposal submissions must be received by 3 October 2016.

Year-End Urgent Action in Jamaica!

A mega port in the heart of Jamaica’s most important protected area……It does not have to be built here!

The contribution you make today, will support the people of Jamaica in their fight against the destruction of the most important remaining Protected Area in the Caribbean.

If this controversial decision goes through, then the Portland Bight Protected Area and the Hellshire Hills will lose all protection and will not be a safe home for any of the native Jamaican plants and animals. The International Iguana Foundation will need to be ready to act to ensure the Jamaican Iguana does not perish from the face of the earth!

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By supporting the IIF, you will:

  • Help us support local efforts to fight any proposed development within the PBPA, including the Goat Islands and Hellshire Hills.
  • Help us develop a backup plan should the iguana’s habitat be jeopardized. We must create a safe habitat where iguanas can be translocated if the Hellshire Hills are going to be lost.

Join this effort, it may be the last chance to save the Jamaican Iguana’s habitat!

Make a donation today by Contributing to the International Iguana Foundation!

Thanks to Ty Park, of Ty’s Lizards, Ty will match $2 for every dollar donated!

2015 IIF Request for Proposals

The International Iguana Foundation is pleased to announce their annual request for proposals for iguana conservation. For more information, application guidelines and budget forms, please go to the Grants menu > Apply for a Grant. A sample of a model application is available to serve as a guide for applicants and to ensure consistency in format. Proposal submissions must be received by 9 October 2015.

2014 Action Needed in Fiji!

Brachylophus_bulabula_RobertFisher_smIIF-supported fieldwork was conducted this year on Fiji’s two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, to determine if Central Fijian Banded Iguanas (Brachylophus bulabula) remained on either island where they have been considered extinct due to invasive species……Their presence has been verified on Viti Levu!!!

 

It is believed that they avoid mongoose predation by foraging AND nesting high in the canopy of old growth forest! There is an immediate need to survey remaining old growth rainforest on both of these islands where logging pressure is high, and may wipe out these remaining relict populations just as they are being discovered! This research will help develop a conservation plan targeting these unique ecosystems which are allowing the iguanas to survive.

 

Basket fern (Drynaria sp.) photographed on Viti Levu, Fiji. These plants can be twice this size and capture a large amount of organic material which becomes a stable soil environment free of predation from terrestrial mongoose. We believe they serve as arboreal egg laying habitats for iguanas.

Basket fern (Drynaria sp.) photographed on Viti Levu, Fiji. These plants can be twice this size and capture a large amount of organic material which becomes a stable soil environment free of predation from terrestrial mongoose. We believe they serve as arboreal egg laying habitats for iguanas.

Say “Bulabula” for these iguanas and CONTRIBUTE today!

 

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Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Supports Iguanas

September 9, 2014

The International Iguana Foundation and Kelly Bradley of Fort Worth Zoo have received a $25,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for the Anegada Iguana Recovery Program! This grant will specifically help refurbish the iguana headstarting facilities on Anegada, which are in need of repair and upgrades, in an effort to get more iguanas back into the wild. Our project was one of 141 projects chosen this year as Disney expands their support aimed at protecting the planet for future generations and inspiring the conservation leaders of tomorrow.

 

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund

We would like to thank everyone at the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for supporting our mission to ensure the survival of iguanas and their habitats through conservation and scientific programs in critical ecosystems around the world!

http://www.disney.com/conservation

2014 IIF Request for Proposals

The International Iguana Foundation is pleased to announce their annual request for proposals for iguana conservation. For more information, application guidelines and budget forms, please go to the Grants menu > Apply for a Grant. A sample of a model application is  available to serve as a guide for applicants and to ensure consistency in format. Proposal submissions must be received by 2 October 2014.