Rapid Response Removal Campaign invasive exotic green iguana Saba
The Saba black iguana, Iguana (guana/melanoderma) is a Lesser Antillean endemic variety of the green iguana that is (likely) only found on Saba and Montserrat. The species is the largest native land vertebrate of Saba. Hybridization with the introduced Green Iguana is now an imminent threat to this unique black island variety of iguana.
During fieldwork in 2021 non-native Green Iguanas were seen, captured, culled and genetically confirmed for Saba. If more animals remain on the island or have hybridized with the native Saban black iguana, there is an imminent threat that the latter will be displaced and disappear. A “Rapid Resonse Removal Campaign” is urgently needed to quickly and hopefully completely remove the invasive Green iguana. This Kennisdeskvraag therefore is aimed to swiftly design and rigorously execute such a campaign in close cooperation with local stakeholders. The project will be modelled after a similar successfully-executed campaign for Statia (Debrot et al. 2022).
As the number of Green iguanas is likely still very small, a Rapid Response Action is feasible and called for. The Ministry Agriculture Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands carries ultimate responsibility for endangered species in the Caribbean Netherlands. In light of the local lack of capacity and expertise the ministry decided to commission the execution of a removal campaign by WMR.
Together with local and Dutch expert iguana spotters two thorough surveys will be conducted this year in key risk areas to eliminate all iguanas that have Green Iguana or hybrid characteristics. The project will provide practical experience and lessons learnt that will be of great value to the further implementation of the Invasive Alien Species Joint Action Plan as previously also commissioned by the same ministry.