A critically endangered pink iguana hatchlings have been discovered by scientists. The species is making a miraculous comeback and researchers have also found a juvenile population of iguanas—an endangered reptile on the only island in the Ecuadorian archipelago.
According to estimates, the iguana is considered critically endangered and there are only a few hundred left. “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 iguanas, which can grow up to 18.5 inches (47 cm) in length, were first discovered by national park rangers in 1986. However, it took decades for scientists to recognize the pink iguana as a separate species from others on the island, Reuters reported.
The national park says the iguana population is threatened by introduced species to the island, particularly rats.
“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.
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