The 2019 nesting season for the critically endangered Jamaican iguana has begun in the Hellshire Hills. Conservation Biologist, Dr. Stesha Pasachnik, works closely with local stakeholders to protect this species during this vital time. Like many other iguanas, this species buries its eggs in the ground. This process can take several days to complete and invasive predators such as cats often take advantage of the delicate time to depredate. In the pictures you can notice that the iguana has a radio tracking device attached to its pelvic girdle. This allows us to follow her movements and monitor her survival. You can also notice camera traps that allow us to monitor the nesting sites without disturbing the females. The incubation period for the eggs is about three months. At that time, hatchlings will start to emerge from the nest and be on their own, as the parents have no role in raising the young.
Stesha and her teammates will take some of the hatchlings to a headstart facility. The headstart facility provides a safe environmnet for the hatchlings to grow to a larger size, which will increase their chance of survival once they are released back into the wild. But for now, staff will continue to observe the nesting site without interrupting the delicate process taking place.