At one time the Ricord’s Iguana was thought to be extinct in Haiti. When reports began circulating that these iguanas still survived near the Haitian-Dominican border, the International Iguana Foundation (IIF) got involved. The IIF began supporting research in Haiti in 2007 to try to confirm the presence of Ricord’s Iguanas. One very small nesting site was found in the town of Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti, launching a recovery effort focused primarily on monitoring and protection of the only known nesting site. This week the IIF received the first photograph of an adult Ricord’s Iguana taken in Haiti. Researchers had previously spotted iguanas and confirmed their presence through field observation and nest monitoring. Finally, with this picture, the IIF can share that excitement with the public.
This photograph was taken at the end of April 2011 by local Haitian Nelson Jean, a guide and member of the C. ricordii Habitat Surveillance Team in Anse-à-Pitres. The iguana was spotted in the western hills of Lasalin where Nelson herds cattle. Community outreach and assistance in surveillance by local teams allows researchers to monitor this population year-round. Head researcher Masani Accimé was excited when she arrived back in the country for the hatching season and received the good news. We at the IIF are extremely excited to be the first to release this photo to the public. Unfortunately, because we lack a good camera in Haiti, the quality of the picture is not the greatest. The picture below, of an adult Ricord’s Iguana, was taken by field researchers in the Domincan Republic and is better quality.
We would like to give special thanks to all of the local non-profit organizations that assist in field research year-round including Groupo Jaragua, OJAA, KOSRA, and all the individuals that participate. Even after the earthquakes of 2010, these teams managed to continue the monitoring and research on this Critically Endangered species.
For more information on the Ricord’s Iguana and what the IIF is doing to help this species, see the Species Page.