The National Trust is getting some help from a partner abroad.
The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is the recipient of a grant worth $212,622 from the Darwin Plus Initiative, a U.K.-based philanthropic organization that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment.
The programme was launched in 1990 with just 30 blue iguanas, and it has gone on to rehabilitate the species and release more than 1,000 of the animals into the wild. The blue iguana was listed as critically endangered in 1990 and was on the “red list” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“Nearly 30 years of dedicated effort by the National Trust – coupled with financial support from several local corporations, international grants and the work of countless volunteers – has saved the Blue Iguana from extinction,” said Nadia Hardie, executive director of the National Trust, in a press release. “We are indebted to the organizations and individuals who have partnered with the Trust to reinstate the wild population of our native land animal and to ensure the continued existence of this majestic creature.”
Now, with more than 1,000 blue iguanas in the wild, the National Trust is preparing for Phase II, which means not just saving the species from extinction but giving it a sustainable path forward. The blue iguana breeding facility at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park currently houses 70 iguanas.
“Our new strategic plan for the program will include a better facility to house the captive iguanas, improved husbandry, and added manpower to monitor the Blue Iguanas now roaming the Trust’s Salina and Colliers Wilderness reserves in East End,” said Stuart Mailer, the environmental programs manager at the National Trust. “Phase II will also address challenges such as disease prevention and encroaching predators.”
To learn more about the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, visit nationaltrust.org.ky.