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Ministry of Environment conducts census of land iguanas in Cartago, Galapagos

November 15, 2013

The Ministry of Environment recently conducted a census of land iguanas in Cartago in the southeast of Isabela Island over a 4-day period in order to understand the state of the population. Under the direction of the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and with the support of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), 205 iguanas were counted and 86 were captured in order to record information such as sex, body length, tail length and weight. Twenty-eight of the iguanas were newly captured individuals, who were tagged for future identification.

Park ranger holding land iguana in Cartago

A trained park ranger handles a land iguana.

The results of the census revealed a healthy population of land iguanas in Cartago, and although only 205 were recorded within this census, it is estimated that the population exceeds 2,000 individuals. Land iguanas are a vulnerable species, and efforts to protect and conserve native and endemic species complements species control activities being undertaken at monitoring sites by the GNPD.

The Galapagos land iguana is one of the most emblematic species of the archipelago. They reproduce only in limited areas, and populations are only found on some islands. Currently, there are three species of land iguanas: Conolophus pallidus, found only on Santa Fe; Conolophus subcristatus; found on Isabela, Baltra, North Seymour, Fernandina, South Plazas, and Santa Cruz; and Conolophus marthae, known as the pink iguana, which lives only on the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island.

Galapagos Conservancy – Preserve. Protect. Restore.

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