St. Eustatius represented at iguana specialists’ meeting

ST. EUSTATIUS–Student Thijs van den Burg represented St. Eustatius during the 21st International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Iguana Specialist Group (ISG) meeting, which was held in St. Augustine, Florida, November 10 to 12.

ISG is a group of specialists that collaborate with different partners to protect all species of iguana, which are among the most endangered taxonomic groups in the world.

During this meeting, researchers from across the world came together to discuss research projects, strategies and conservation plans.

Among the participants was Master of Science student Van den Burg, who spent three months on Statia studying the Lesser Antillean iguana population, specifically its genetic diversity and effective population size.

The latter part of this project was funded by Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, and facilitated by St. Eustatius National Parks STENAPA, with the laboratory work being supported by Mississippi State University.

This project is now in the laboratory stage where blood samples are being analysed. During his presentation, however, Van den Burg discussed his fieldwork methods and the preliminary results.

Questions posed by other delegates focused on sampling methods and local threats, such as poaching and the impact of non-native species.

Other presentations at the meeting highlighted research into Lesser Antillean iguana populations on the French Lesser Antillean islands and informed the group about the pervasive threat of the invasive green iguana throughout the Caribbean.

The results of Van den Burg’ s study, which will become available in 2016, are to enable STENAPA to determine the correct conservation measures for the Lesser Antillean iguana on Statia.

Source: The Daily Herald St. Eustatius represented at iguana specialists’ meeting