The vet team from the Fort Worth Zoo joined researchers Dr. Byron Wilson (University of the West Indies) and Tandora Grant from San Diego Zoo in health screening and releasing the headstarted iguanas that have been living at Hope Zoo, Kingston, Jamaica.
During the week, we weighed, measured, and evaluated the health of 226 Jamaican Iguanas at the zoo!!
Two were “missing” (possibly hiding in a hole) and not screened. This year, the first six were released on 16 March with Byron’s Conservation Biology student trip and graduate student Armed Rasberry (Mississippi State University). Byron’s crew released another 13 iguanas on 30/31 March.
That makes a TOTAL of 174 released so far!!
This year we saw improved growth compared to last year. We also had the chance to further discuss the idea of moving all the headstart cages to the perimeter edge of the zoo. This area would be off-exhibit to the public. We have several ideas to further reduce the density in which iguanas are housed and the potential to also expand the number that can be headstarted and released per year.
To test whether Jamaican Iguanas will show improved growth rates in their first year if housed in individual cages, curator Orlando Robinson and keeper Sadam Quarrie (Hope Zoo) are going to set up five iguanas from the 2011 hatch year in separate cages and their growth will be compared to a control set, in the same weight range, that will remain in the group Snake House cages.
The 2012 health screening and release team:
Left to right: Kim Westbrook, Dr. Byron Wilson, Dr. Nancy Lung, Armed Rasberry, Tandora Grant, and Orlando Robinson.