International Iguana Foundation Named Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Annual Grants Recipient
Jamaican Iguanas Get a Helping Hand from Disney
Fort Worth, TX, October 13, 2011 – The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) announced that the International Iguana Foundation (IIF) has been awarded an annual grant to support its project: Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program.
DWCF awarded $2 million to conservation projects around the globe in 2011, the highest amount ever contributed in a single year. The International Iguana Foundation is one of nearly 100 grant recipients recognized for helping to preserve habitats, protect endangered species, foster kids’ connections to nature and ensure future generations can enjoy wildlife and wild places.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund grant will support conservation work on the Critically Endangered Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei). The species was thought to be extinct 20 years ago, but on-going work by the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group (JIRG) and the University of the West Indies, Mona, has set the stage for a remarkable recovery story. Indeed, the species has been guided from “re-discovery” toward recovery. Critical on-going conservation activities include the captive headstart and release program, an intervention that has resulted in the repatriation of 138 iguanas. In addition to funding the continuation of these essential conservation actions, this grant will allow the JIRG to begin several new activities.
Grant funding provided will support the construction of artificial nesting areas that will be capable of absorbing some of the overflow that has resulted from previous recovery activities. 2010 was a record season with 28 females nesting in the core area, as compared to the 6-8 documented in 1991, raising the breeding population 3-fold since conservation efforts began. However, nest predation outside of the core nesting area remains high. For nest success to continue to increase in future years, the core nesting area must be expanded to accommodate the increase in nesting females that is a direct result of successful predator control and headstarting efforts. Survival among repatriated animals has been demonstrably high, and repatriated females now comprise half of the core nesting population.
Additionally, this grant will be used to establish an intensive grid of camera traps. In 2010, a small number of camera traps were deployed for a pilot study that resulted in a multitude of useful information. Images captured allowed the conservation team to document events such as nest predation, as well as gather comprehensive biological survey data. The purchase of additional camera traps will allow us to expand these recovery efforts, and also provide a valuable tool for monitoring iguana nesting sites.
“This year’s $2 million milestone is testament to Disney’s commitment to protect the planet and help create connections between kids and nature around the world in 40 countries,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President, Disney Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation. “We are grateful to the many scientists, educators and community conservationists who devote their lives to conservation and are very proud to work with our guests, fans, employees, and cast members to help ensure a better future for our planet.”
Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Disney Rapid Relief Fund have provided grants for the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Program, Turks and Caicos Iguana research, and Grand Cayman Blue Iguana recovery since 2002. In 2010, Disney provided funding to the International Iguana Foundation through their Rapid Relief Fund to assist in the conservation efforts of Ricord’s Iguana in Haiti following the earthquakes. Their support has allowed the IIF to have a tremendous impact in the research and recovery of many species throughout the years and has enabled us to spread the message of iguana conservation to a multitude of audiences.
About the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
Since 1995, DWCF has awarded nearly $18 million to support conservation programs in 111 countries. Projects selected for funding must address a critical conservation need, offer education and community engagement, an ability to influence decision makers, and solid scientific investigation. For a complete list of grant recipients and to view The Walt Disney Company’s most recent Conservation Report, visit www.disney.com/conservation. Learn more about Disney’s citizenship efforts at www.disney.com/citizenship