The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is a comprehensive database that records the health of the world’s biodiversity, including a tool that manages a list of species and their status in the wild. In an effort to raise awareness about some of the world’s rarest and endangered animals, Jon Paul Rodriguez, the chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, has identified 10 critically endangered species that have been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to a variety of conservation methods. At the top of the list, the Jamaican rock iguana. Thought to be extinct by the 1940s, the Jamaican iguana was rediscovered in the Hellshire Hills in the 1990s with only a handful of individuals remaining. There are now 500-600 adults in the wild thanks to extreme conservation efforts, however the species remains critically endangered due to ongoing threats.
The Fort Worth Zoo is proud to be leading field conservation work and recovery efforts alongside our local partners: The National Environment and Planning Agency, Caribbean Coastal Areas Management Foundation, University of the West Indies, Urban Development Corporation and the Hope Zoo. Interventions such as protecting nest sites, headstarting and invasive mammal control have led to an increased population over time. To date, 522 iguanas have been reintroduced into their native range. It is our job to conserve wild things and raise awareness about some of the world’s most critically endangered species.