NEPA Plans To Release 1,000 Iguanas In Hellshire Hills

A report by the Jamaica Information Service says The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is planning to release 1,000 Jamaican Iguanas in Hellshire Hills by 2026 in a bid to grow the iguana population under efforts of the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Programme.

While speaking during NEPA’s World Wildlife Day Webinar last month, Coordinator, Watershed Information System, David Reid, highlighted some of the work taking place under the programme to rehabilitate and increase the population of the endemic Jamaican Iguana species, which was once thought to be extinct.

The conservation efforts surrounding the Jamaican Iguana are done through a two-pronged approach of in situ and ex situ conservation.

“The population has now made significant recovery since the intervention. We do in situ, which is the natural habitat management, where we do population monitoring, predator control, creation of viable nesting sites and the maintenance of those nesting sites.


What we do on the ex situ side of it includes the Head Start Programme which adjusts for viability of the hatchlings. Then the captive population assurance colony is offshore,” Mr. Reid said.

“We work with zoos outside of Jamaica, that are a part of the programme, and have a set number of iguanas for safekeeping – in case there may be any disease that may wipe out our local population, we can restart that colony,” he added.

“We are aiming to have 1,000 iguanas released in Hellshire by the year 2026. Those are some of our future targets that we are aiming towards, and at the rate at which we are going with the support of the public, the Government and our international partners, we will be able to reach our goal. The Jamaican Iguana Recovery Programme is being cheered and we are being lauded for our good performance. We are held in high esteem. This is a real success story,” Mr. Reid also said.

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