Land Iguana Restoration Center on Santa Cruz Island

The Land Iguana Resoration Center on Puerto Ayora is at the large complex known as the Charles Darwin Research Center.

As you walk behind the museum, then through the maze of wood planked pathways over controlled habitat of the Center for Land Tortoises, on the other side is the Land Iguana Center.

The history of the iguanas and their survival is a common story to many species.

When non-native predators (wild dogs, pigs, cats and some stupid gun-toting soldiers) were introduced to areas the iguanas were abundant, populations were decimated.

In the 1970s rescue operations saved around 60 remaining on Conway Bay on Santa Cruz Island, and around 30 still present in their lovely waterfront ‘land with a view’ beach home at Cartago Bay on Isabela Island.

Eggs are still taken from both islands where existing iguanas nest, incubated at the center, hatched and bred in captivity until their release as adults.

They had become extinct on Baltra Island in the 1950s (stupid soldiers mentioned above), now due to the reintroduction program of the breeding center Baltra again has a thriving population of this precious reptile species. Darwin would be proud.

Land Iguanas in Action

“You want a piece of me? I’ll give you a piece of me… come a little closer, come on…”

Land Iguana Restoration Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Land Iguana Restoration Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

I got a huge kick out of watching the two land iguanas in the photos above give each other a hard time though their wire fence separated enclosures.

First I thought they were trying to kiss, then play, er, no… a brawl was on; tails whipping, tongues slashing… trying to climb that fence (or through it!) and get a piece of the other… Lover’s quarrel?

Land Iguana Restoration Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

These guys or gals (or one of each…) are a burnt orangish-tan color, others are grey/blue, brownish-red and black. They grow to 3-5 feet long and weigh up to 25 pounds.

More information can be found about Galapagos Land Iguanas and the future goals of the breeding center on the Galapagos Conservation Trust website.

More Galapagos Islands Articles:
Galapagos Islands Lizards & Iguanas
Playa de la Estacion on Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
Center for Land Tortoises at Charles Darwin Research Center on Puerto Ayora
Hiking on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
Las Grietas Lagoon on Santa Cruz Island

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