The British Herpetological Society

Blue-Iguana Project

This CBC project grant was awarded to the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP) in 2007, based on Grand Cayman, in order to help with the captive breeding and conservation of the critically endangered Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi). The main purpose of the BHS-funded project was to help design and investigate the use of artificial retreats (or refugia) as a means of boosting conservation objectives, as it had been noted that artificial retreats played an important role in anchoring released captive-bred iguanas in protected habitat, also providing some defence against predators.

The final retreat design has been a great success, and is now in the production and deployment stage in the QEII Botanic Park and the Salina Reserve. Dr Townson recently provided a written progress report on the project for the Natterjack (Jan 2010), and a full report has now been published in the Herpetological Bulletin, 114, 2011. Essentially, the research and retreat production funded by this BHS project has resulted in a significant step forward for the survival of this species. At the 2012 BHS Amersham meeting, Doug Bell from BIRP presented a paper and full update on the project, reporting continued success in captive breeding and stabilization of the released animals'.  BIRP can be congratulated for saving this magnificent species from extinction.