Tremendous conservation efforts have been initiated for the Utila spiny-tailed iguana in an attempt to prevent its extinction. In 1994, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Senckenberg Nature Research Society together initiated work to preserve the Utila spiny-tailed iguana. As well as conserving the iguana and its mangrove habitat, the project aimed to promote the sustainable development of the island and create environmental awareness among the local inhabitants (3).
In 1998, the Iguana Station was constructed, providing a centre for environmental education efforts, ecological research and captive breeding (3). Pregnant females are brought to the Iguana Station to lay their eggs, which are then artificially incubated. Incubation in this protected, controlled environment ensures the greatest possible number of eggs hatch. The young are raised in captivity for two years before being released back into the swamps (4).
The captive breeding programme has been extended to other zoos around the world, for example, in 2007, nine Utila spiny-tailed iguanas hatched at ZSL London Zoo (5). This helps ensure the long-term survival of the species, should something devastating occur in the wild. These incredible efforts need to continue if the future of this species is to be secured.