A land iguana that disappeared from one of the Galapagos Islands more than a century ago is reproducing naturally after being reintroduced there, Ecuador’s environment ministry said on Monday.
The reptile of the species Conolophus subcristatus, one of three land iguanas living on the archipelago, disappeared from Santiago Island in the early 20th century, according to a 1903-1906 expedition by the California Academy of Sciences, the ministry said.
In 2019, the Galapagos National Park (PNG) Authority reintroduced more than 3,000 iguanas from a nearby island to restore the natural ecosystem of Santiago, which lies in the center of the Pacific archipelago.
The remote island chain became famous through the observations of the British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin about the evolution there.
In 1835, Darwin recorded large numbers of iguanas of all ages on Santiago.
PNG Director Danny Rueda said: “187 years later we are once again seeing a healthy population of land iguanas with adults, juveniles and newborns.
“It is a great conservation achievement and increases our hopes for the recovery of islands that have been severely affected by introduced species.”
Located nearly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are home to unique flora and fauna and are a World Heritage Site.
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