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Pink iguana population stable following Wolf Volcano eruption

July 18, 2016

Analyzing pink iguana blood samples

The concentration of red and white blood cells was analyzed
in blood samples taken from pink iguanas that inhabit Wolf volcano.

Following the eruption of Wolf Volcano on northern Isabela Island in May, representatives from the Galapagos National Park (GNP) have confirmed that the population of pink iguanas and their habitat show no immediate negative impacts as a result of the eruption. This is the preliminary result of monitoring activities conducted on June 12 by Park rangers and technicians from the National Geophysical Institute (IGN) of the National Polytechnic School.

Jorge Carrion, Director of Environmental Management for the GNP, said that the primary objective of the monitoring was to verify the state of health and physical condition of the pink iguanas following the eruptive activity of the volcano. Park rangerss and IGN technicians visited the summit of Wolf via helicopter where they took blood samples from five pink iguanas and two yellow land iguanas on the northwest side of the volcano (where the iguanas reside), as well as weight and morphometric measurements, in order to identify any possible effects caused by the volcanic activity.

Blood samples have been processed and prepared for shipment to the University Tor Vergata in Italy in order to further analyze and confirm the health status of the iguanas. For now, the information obtained from the weight of the iguanas is ​​within the normal range compared to previous monitoring activities conducted.

The pink iguana habitat on Wolf showed no traces of volcanic activity: no ash was present on vegetation or soil, an no other material from the eruption was found. However, technicians from the GNP and IGN will need to continue to monitor Wolf, as it is an active volcano and is home to the only population of pink iguanas in the world

The Galapagos National Park hopes to have the results from the blood sample analysis in the coming weeks to confirm the health status of the iguanas.

Translated with permission from the Galapagos National Park.


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