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The Jamaican Iguana

Updated: Nov 10, 2020


A Jamaican Iguana lies atop a rock. Find the original here.



Population Estimate: Less than 200 Individuals


Brief Description

In between the irregular and precipitous limestone rock of the Hellshire Hills lies the last known wild population of the Jamaican Iguana, or Cyclura collei. The Hellshire Hills remain one of the wildest areas in the nation due to uneven terrain and the absence of surface water. Previously, the species had been considered extinct after the last studied population disappeared from the Goat Islands until a survey in 1990 found the Hellshire Hills population.

Once abundant across the entire island of Jamaica, the Iguana’s range decreased heavily during the 1800s due to human encroachment and the introduction of the invasive Indian Mongoose.  Despite this, exhaustive invasive species control and reintroduction programs have assured a steadily increasing population in the areas.

Written by — Joe Sweeney


Fun Facts

  1. All of the Jamaican Iguanas in the entire world are part of a single subpopulation discovered in the Hellshire Hills.

  2. It is considered the largest reptile in Jamaica.

  3. A hunter rediscovered the species in 1990 while searching for hogs.

  4. There are now several captive breeding programs in Zoos and Research Centers.


How you can help

If you want to support the IIF’s conservation measures in Jamaica to ensure the long term survival of the species, you can donate at the link below. The money will go towards routine health-screens, releases, and combating invasive species.

Donate Below


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