Conservation issues

A remnant population of the endangered Lesser Antillean iguana have found a last refuge on the island of St. Eustatius. However, they are now under threat of extirpation.

Direct actions

Working together with local decision and policy makers, the island community, and various organisations we develop solutions to put new but sustainable measures in place. Support is being sought to conduct the following:

Cistern ramps

Traditionally, residents of St. Eustatius use cisterns to store water for household use. A cistern entry hole that is not covered can become a threat to iguanas, especially in the dry season when the animals are thirsty. Iguanas have been known to fall into cisterns (especially abandoned cisterns) and are unable to climb out, resulting in their unfortunate death. The construction of 'iguana ramps' for use in cisterns will eliminate this risk for the iguana. A small ramp placed inside the cistern will enable the trapped iguana to climb to safety. Funds will allow the purchase of materials and fund a small salary to build and install cistern ramps.

Nesting sites

There is a need to create additional nesting sites in suitable areas on St. Eustatius. Iguanas require sandy but also clayish, wel-drained soils exposed to prolonged sunlight in which to incubate their eggs. Suitable nesting sites are becoming scarce on the island due to development. Private residences are being built in prime nesting habitats, and the owners often bring pet cats and dogs to their property, resulting in additional threats to the iguana. Funds will allow the purchase of nesting material to be placed in suitable locations.

Iguana friendly yards

Residents of St. Eustatius will be invited to participate in an 'iguana-friendly yard' program. This outreach program aims to encourage more people to reduce the numbers of cats and dogs in their yards, to fence off their yards, and to plant suitable vegetation that is favored by iguanas in order to provide safe areas for them. Funds will provide fencing materials and plants for persons wishing to collaborate with this project.