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Here are some fun facts:
Roatan’s Black Spiny-Tailed Iguana
Found no-where else in the world Roatan’s Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura oedirhina, is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Known locally as the wishwilly or jamo the greatest threats to the Black Iguana include harvesting for consumption and habitat modification. The consumption of both Green and Black Iguana meat has been a part of the local culture for a long time. However, as the population of the island grows and tourists desire to try this local dish harvesting of the Black Iguana is no longer sustainable. Green Iguanas have a wide range throughout Mexico, North and South America, and the Caribbean therefore harvesting of this species is not as serious of a threat.
Given the size of Roatan the range of the Black Iguana cannot exceed approximately 100 Km2 and is most likely much smaller. This species can be found in a variety of habitats. However, it is most prevalent in mangrove forests during the majority of the year and utilizes beach habitats during the nesting season. Like all iguanas this species is primarily herbivorous and depends on a variety of plants for survival. In turn these plants rely on seed dispersal from the wishwilly in order to survive.
It is important to remember that everyone’s actions can help to protect and conserve this species. In addition, many of the actions causing the decline of this species are illegal. Hunting and consuming this species is an illegal activity in Honduras. Likewise destroying much of the habitat of this species, in particular the mangrove forests, is illegal. The mangrove tree species that occur on Roatan are also endangered and protected by law. Mangrove forests are an island’s first line of defense against erosions, destroying them will only lead to the disappearance of the island itself. Mangroves also provide a breeding ground for many coral reef species and without them the health of the reef will quickly decline. Please do your part to help protect the many unique and threatened species of Roatan.