Lesser Antillean iguana
Once widespread throughout the Lesser Antillean chain of islands in the eastern Caribbean, this large iguana is now thought to be confined to just a few islands and a couple of offshore islets. Iguana populations on all the islands in its current range have declined considerably in recent times, and on many it is considered to be in critical danger of extinction.
A combination of man-made problems threatens the survival of the Lesser Antillean iguana. These include habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting, interbreeding with a closely related introduced species, the green iguana, and introduced predators and competitors.
Captive breeding trials began in 1992, when a pair of wild-caught iguanas came to Jersey from the island of Dominica. Two years later a further three pairs were sent to Memphis Zoo and San Diego Zoo’s special endangered species breeding centre. This kind of iguana has proved notoriously difficult to breed in captivity, but Durrell’s reptile experts have got it right – the only ones so far! To date our pair of iguanas has produced nine offspring – a singleton in 1997 and an extraordinarily successful eight in 2000!