Dr. Bill Hayes and his team from Loma Linda University, California, report a successful translocation of San Salvador Iguanas, Cyclura rileyi rileyi, in February 2005. Five adult pairs were moved from Green Cay to Cut Cay in the hope of establishing another island subpopulation of this Critically Endangered iguana. Essentially extirpated from the main island of San Salvador, the remaining populations are now confined to four tiny offshore cays and two islets within the hyper-saline interior lake. With fewer than 600 individuals remaining, this iguana occupies a mere fraction (2%) of its former range. Establishing new sub-populations through translocations is expected to increase the population and lessen the risk of extinction.
In preparation for this translocation, a veterinary team from the Fort Worth Zoo conducted medical evaluations and health assessments on the iguanas in order to gather baseline physiological data. These data will be important in the future as additional iguanas are translocated and the health status of these populations is monitored. This aspect of the project was funded by the Smithsonian Institution.
This translocation project was funded by a 2004 grant from the International Iguana Foundation, awarded to Dr. Bill Hayes.