Date: December 19, 2022.
The first photos of juvenile Pink Iguanas with characteristic striping (c), GNPD/ Galapagos Conservancy
A team from the GNPD, Galapagos Conservancy, headed by Jean Pierre Cadena and Johanes Ramirez, and Mario Yepez, both members of the Galapagos Conservancy conservation team, has undertaken a series expeditions to the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island, in search for the Pink Iguana.
To reach the location of the last Pink Iguanas, it takes two days. The current global population has been estimated at 200-300 adults since 2009 when it was identified as a new species. There have not been any immature iguanas recorded in more than a decade. Global concern is growing that this species may soon be extinct due to a shrinking and aging adult population.
Seven expeditions have been conducted since the October 2021 announcement by “Iniciativa Galapagos”, a partnership between GNPD, Galapagos Conservancy and Galapagos Conservancy in order to better understand the current situation and threats facing the species.
The team recently discovered and documented the first nesting areas and the first ever hatchlings and juvenile iguanas. The team also deployed dozens of hidden trail cameras around the volcano to document extensive evidence of Pink Iguana nesting activity.
The team has now found extensive evidence from Pink Iguana nesting activity using hidden trail cameras placed around the volcano.
The documented predation on young iguanas by non-native feral cats is a matter of grave concern. These cats congregate at nest sites for iguana hatchlings and kill them at their most vulnerable time. The young iguanas are easily preyed upon by the cats after spending days digging out their underground nests. Cat predation is believed to have prevented the juvenile recruitment of Pink Iguanas to the adult population for over a decade.
The GNPD is now focusing on further support for monitoring and protecting Pink Iguana Nesting Sites. The GNPD has created a permanent field station that offers a 360-degree view to the volcano in order to protect wildlife trafficking and illegal poaching.
This effort was praised by the Ecuadorian Minister for Environment. “”
Danny Rueda, director for the Galapagos National Park thanked Galapagos Conservancy and promised that they would continue to support them.
“.” said Dr. Paul Salaman President Galapagos Conservancy.
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