Anegada Rock Iguana
Cyclura pinguis
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Range: British Virgin Islands
Population: 200-300
Size: Males up to 22” in length from snout to vent, with a longer tail
Threats: Predation by feral domestic cats and dogs; Habitat degradation from free-ranging cattle, donkeys, and goats that trample nest sites and severely overgraze native vegetation; Land clearing.
Conservation Measures

Although this species used to occupy islands across the entire Puerto Rico Bank, it has been restricted to the island of Anegada since dense human settlement in the Caribbean. Iguanas have been in serious decline since the 1960s, due to pressures from feral domestic animals and now occupies only a small portion of the island. Cats in particular kill nearly all hatchlings and juveniles, resulting in a population of predominantly aging adult iguanas. From Anegada, a small group of eight adults was introduced to Guana Island and reproduced successfully. Iguanas from the Guana Island population have been translocated to Necker, Little Thatch, and Moskito Islands.

In 1997, conservation efforts to save this imperiled species increased with the construction of a headstart facility on Anegada. This intensive effort is expensive but may be the only hope of saving the dwindling population from extinction. As a part of the headstart program, researchers conduct an extensive survey of the island for nest sites in July. The sites are marked and during the hatching months, research teams return to collect hatchlings as they emerge. Hatchlings are then taken to the headstart facility where they are raised in a predator-free area until they reach a size in which they can ward off feral cats.
The International Iguana Foundation has provided funding to save this species since the foundation was created. In October 2003, the first group of 24 headstarted iguanas was released on Anegada and their movements and behavior were monitored, showing a survival rate of over 85%. As of November 2015, 206 Anegada Iguanas have been repatriated to the wild.
Current IIF funded projects focus on continuing to headstarting hatchlings and studying the resident wild population to better understand distribution, size, demography, and ecology. Because full recovery of the Anegada Iguana will require habitat protection and eradication of feral mammals, the project will also work toward establishing a national park and controlling non-native mammals, as outlined in the Anegada Iguana Species Recovery Plan. Additionally, genetic analysis is ongoing to ensure the long-term health of the translocated populations.
Reports from the Field
Additional Reports
IIF Grants Received