Monday, August 8, 2016

black iguana conservation

2016 marks the 7th year Tasha Pasachnik and her team have been working with the endangered iguanas of Roatan. Roatan is the only place in the world that you can find this type of iguana! They occur on less than 1% (!!) of the island area in high numbers. Paya Bay Resort is one of the sites where these unique reptiles flourish and are protected. For the past seven years these university students have been monitoring the populations of iguanas on Roatan through a mark/recapture technique that allows them to estimate population size and assess individual growth over time. They have collected DNA samples from all the iguanas they've captured and released, and have found the small populations across the island are isolated from one another. To date they have captured 890 iguanas! After they capture them, they mark them with a permanent ID chip so they can constantly check them in future years. This year they started a new program that focuses on capacity building and education, as well as continuing their monitoring study. They have two students from Guatemala and one student from Honduras participating in the program. Throughout future years they hope to expand this education program and work towards collectively protecting the endangered iguanas of Central America.

Tasha Pasachnik (center) initiated this wildlife conservation project in 2009 as part of her graduate studies at the University of Kentucky.

Paya Bay Resort, Roatan, Bay Islands of Honduras.

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