One of the most rare species of iguanas can only be found on the Honduran island of Utila. It’s named the Utila spiny-tailed iguana for reasons not particularly surprising 1) because of the single island it calls home and 2) because of the large spiny scales encircling its tail. What is surprising about this rare creature is that even on the small island it can only be found in a 8 sq km mangrove forest.
This species of iguanas feeds mostly on plants and small invertebrates. The mangroves provide the perfect habitat for the iguanas to rest and feed, but when it comes time to nest, the beaches are where they choose to lay their eggs.
Major threats to this animal include hunting and habitat degradation. The mangrove forests are increasingly being used as dump sites for garbage and are being demolished to build houses and marinas. Being an already rare species, that is now decreasing in population, has landed the Utila spiny-tailed iguana a spot on the critically endangered list.
There have been tremendous conservation efforts to prevent the extinction of the Utila spiny-tailed iguana. Including preservation of the mangroves and beaches. Pregnant female iguanas are even brought into environmental centers to lay their eggs, the eggs are artificially incubated, and then they young are released. This is a way to greatly increase the number of eggs hatched and youth that survive.
Amongst many things, improving environmental conditions in developing countries in sustainable ways, so both people and animals can live healthier lives, is important to us, here, at Al Campo International. The island of Utila, part of the Bay Islands, is one that we visit on our SCUBA and conservation trip in Honduras.
Written By Claire
For More Information: