Iguanas that disappeared a century ago are breeding again in Galapagos

Iguanas that disappeared a century ago are breeding again in Galapagos


A land iguana that disappeared more than a century ago from one of the Galapagos Islands is reproducing naturally after its reintroduction, the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment announced on Monday. 

The disappearance at the beginning of the 20th century on the island of Santiago of the reptile of the species Conolophus subcristatus, one of the three land iguanas living on the archipelago, had been noted by an expedition of the Academy of Sciences in 1903-06, the ministry said.

In 2019, the Galapagos National Park (PNG) authority reintroduced more than 3,000 iguanas from a nearby island to restore the natural ecosystem of Santiago, which lies at the center of the Pacific archipelago.

This chain of isolated islands was made famous by the observations of British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin who , in 1835, had counted a considerable number of iguanas of all ages on Santiago.

For the director of the PNG, Danny Rueda, “187 years later, we again see a healthy population of land iguanas with adults, juveniles and hatchlings. This is a great conservation achievement and bolsters our reintroduction hopes.”

Located nearly 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are home to flora and fauna unique fauna and are listed as World Natural Heritage.