An endangered pink iguana hatchling has been spotted for the first time on the Galapagos Islands

(Reuters) – Scientists have discovered hatchlings and juvenile populations of the Galapagos pink land iguana, an endangered reptile native to the only island in the Ecuadorian archipelago, for the first time since the species was discovered just decades ago.

Endemic only to the slopes of Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos, the iguana is considered critically endangered and only a few hundred are estimated to remain.

“This discovery marks an important step, allowing us to chart a way forward to save the pink iguana,” Galapagos National Park Director Danny Rueda said in a statement Tuesday.

The iguana, which can grow up to 18.5 inches (47 centimeters) in length, was first discovered by national park rangers in 1986. However, it took decades for scientists to recognize the pink iguana as a separate species from the others on the island.

Their populations are threatened by species introduced to the island, particularly rats, the national park said.

“Knowing the aspects that make their existence vulnerable will allow us to take timely action, mainly against invasive species and thus avoid disrupting the natural cycle of this fragile ecosystem,” Rueda said.

The Galapagos Islands, with their unique wildlife, were a key force behind British scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is home to many species including giant tortoises, flightless cormorants and several species of iguana found nowhere else, including the pink iguana.

Wolf Volcano is one of the most remote sites monitored by the national park, which has established a research and observatory on its grounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *