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Cyclura cychlura

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA IGUANIDAE

Scientific Name: Cyclura cychlura
Species Authority: (Cuvier, 1829)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name/s:
English Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana
Synonym/s:
Cyclura baeolopha Cope, 1861
Iguana cychlura Cuvier, 1829

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bce; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor/s: Knapp, C.R., Iverson, J.B. & Buckner, S.
Reviewer/s: Hudson, R. & Alberts, A. (Iguana Red List Authority)
Justification:
Cyclura cychlura is endemic to the Bahamas. Extent of occurrence is < 20,000 km² and the population is fragmented: at least 16 subpopulations are known existing in a fragmented habitat. Habitat is declining in area and quality due to logging, urban and transport developments, feral animals (cats, dogs, hogs, goats) and fire. It is estimated that there has been a decline in habitat area of at least 20% over the last 30 years. In addition to this, the species is hunted locally for food and for the international pet trade. It is estimated that the current global population is less than 5,000 and is declining: the population has decreased by at least 50% over the last 60 years (three generations). Currently assessed as Vulnerable.

The three subspecies within Cyclura cychlura are also included on the IUCN Red List: C. c. cychlura (Endangered); C. c. figginsi (Endangered); and C. c. inornata (Endangered).
History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Rare (IUCN 1990)
1988 Rare (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Rare (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Found on Andros and Exuma Islands, The Bahamas. Extent of occurrence is <20,000 km². At least three main subpopulations are known on Andros and 13 subpopulations in the Exuma Islands.
Countries:
Native:
Bahamas
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The current global population is less than 5,000 and is declining. Of the three subpopulations on Andros, there are <500 in the northern part of the island, <1,500 in the middle, and <2,000 in the south part of the island. Satellite cays hold < 1,000. Subpopulation sizes in the Exuma Islands are: Bitter Guana Cay (20–50); Gaulin Cay (275–325); White Bay Cay (200–250); Noddy Cay (200–250); North Adderly Cay (235–275); Leaf (< 10); Guana Cay (80–90); Pasture Cay (16); Alligator Cay (75–90); Leaf Cay north of Highbourne Cay (500); U-Cay (300); Allen Cay (15); Flat Rock Cay (10).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Preferred habitats are tropical dry forest, pine barrens, coastal coppice, mangrove and beach strand vegetation areas.

Cyclura cyclura is a herbivorous, ground dwelling, saxicolous species using limestone crevices, or burrows constructed in sandy loam, as retreats. Juveniles and subadults often climb trees and shrubs in the morning to feed and bask. Hollows in dead trees often are used as retreats for juveniles. The islands are low-relief (< 20 m above sea level) karst limestone platforms.

Average generation length is around 20 years.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On Andros Island, there is island-wide logging, construction of homes and roads, feral animals and fire for agriculture or crab hunting. In the Exumas, main threats to the species are feral animals (e.g., goats), fire caused by tourists, and rapid private land acquisition. A direct threat to the population is hunting. This species is the target of illegal subsistence hunting for the animal's meat, and collection for the international pet trade.

The species inhabits two distinctly different island areas in the Bahamas. The Andros population is threatened based on the acceleration of perturbations, such as habitat loss, feral animals, and subsistence hunting. Although the island is large and some undisturbed subpopulations exist, it is only a matter of time before humans or feral animals degrade the populations. A suggestive north/south trend in population decline is noted and procedures must be implemented to stop further degradation of populations and habitat. The Exuma Island populations inhabit an area that is becoming increasingly popular with tourists- both as a sailing destination and region to buy islands. Increased human traffic brings potential and distinct deleterious consequences to the local flora and fauna. In 2004, a large-scale fire was reported on an iguana-inhabited island that has recently become a designated tourist destination. The fire is purportedly the result of a tourist cigarette. Also, in recent years there has been an increase in feral animals and wildlife smuggling throughout the islands. Continued population monitoring must be a priority along with recognizing that the fragmented population faces a precarious future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Cyclura cychlura is included in CITES Appendix I. At the national level, the species is protected by the Wild Animals (Protection) Act, 1968 for the Bahamas.

A new protected area on North Andros was declared in 2003. However, this is in an area of low iguana occurrence and is only protected on paper. There are no protection measures on the ground. In the Exuma Islands, protected areas include Pasture and Alligator Cays, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

Captive populations exist in Ardastra Gardens, Nassau, The Bahamas; and Los Angeles Zoo.

Recommended actions include further surveys, genetic research, life history studies, investigation into the effects of current trade on the population, and a public education programme. A species management programme is recommended for The Bahamas.
Citation: Knapp, C.R., Iverson, J.B. & Buckner, S. 2004. Cyclura cychlura. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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