Iguana conservation and sustainable management in the Turks & Caicos Islands are making significant strides through valuable partnerships as demonstrated at the Turks & Caicos Iguana Conservation Workshop held from July 16th to 18th, 2019 at Ocean Club in Providenciales.
Over the three days, a wide range of challenges facing TCI’s iguanas were discussed, as well as communicating and celebrating the successes made since the previous plan. Three key themes were discussed: (1) the overarching Species Action Plan, (2) Biosecurity and invasive species and (3) Ecotourism and Education.
On the last day of the workshop, participants went to Little Water Cay and Half Moon Bay for an informative field trip where they saw some of the challenges first hand.
The next steps will be to pull together all of the key information gathered into a working Species Action Plan, which will be endorsed by the IUCN’s Iguana Specialist Group. This will be used to direct and prioritise future conservation action.
The workshop steered lots of interesting and informative conversations among the different partners and stakeholders in TCI about the future direction for the conservation of TCI’s unique iguanas. Facilitators highlighted the power of working together to achieve more, as it is essential for achieving this conservation ambition.
Staff from the Ministry of Tourism including the Hon. Minister Ralph Higgs and Permanent Secretary Cheryl Ann Jones, were present. The delegation commented, “We were thrilled to be present to witness the work that is undergoing regarding the preservation of the Iguana. The Ministry is supportive of the initiative and consider it highly important that a strategy is in place and also that there is wider awareness and participation. We look forward to receiving further updates and being a part of the process going forward”
This workshop was part of the Saving the Iguana Islands of the Turks and Caicos project, a partnership between Turks & Caicos National Trust, the Department for Environment and Coastal Resources, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Health Department, Ambergris Cay Facilities Ltd, RSPB, San Diego Zoo, Pine Cay Homeowners Associaion and Wildlife Management International Ltd and was funded by the Darwin Initiative.