A land iguana that disappeared more than a century ago from one of the Galapagos islands is reproducing naturally after its reintroduction, the Ecuadorian environment ministry 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 of California in 1903-06, the ministry said.
In 2019, the Galapagos National Park (PNG) authority reintroduced over 3,000 iguanas from a neighboring island to restore the natural ecosystem of Santiago, which sits in the center of the Pacific archipelago.
This chain of isolated islands was made famous by the observations of the British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin who, in 1835, recorded a considerable number of iguanas of all ages on Santiago.
For PNG director Danny Rueda, “187 years later, we are once again seeing a healthy population of land iguanas with adults, juveniles and hatchlings. This is a great conservation achievement and bolsters our hopes for reintroduction.”
Located nearly 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are home to unique flora and fauna and are listed as World Natural Heritage sites.