For Rock Iguanas Stolen From the Bahamas, a Return Home

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - July 11, 2014

Above: a rock iguana

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Twelve Rock Iguanas stolen from the islands of San Salvador and Exuma in the Bahamas earlier this year have been returned home.

The iguanas were returned via British Airways escorted by UK Border Force officers.

A total of 13 of the endemic animals were originally captured; one died en route to the UK, and two subsequently died after their return, authorities said.

“Wildlife crime is a global problem, which we can only address successfully through our collective efforts and greater cooperation,” said Bahamas Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett.

He said it was increasingly apparent that there was a systematic pillage of the iguanas, something that can be particularly devastating on small island developing states like the Bahamas.

Dorsett said he was “extremely pleased” that in this case the illegal trafficking of the iguanas was detected.

“The demands for exotic species, like the Bahamian iguana are influenced by different lifestyles, cultures, and regions,” he said. “This proliferation of wildlife trafficking will continue unless the proper measures are in place to identify and deter this criminal act.  This incident has also heightened our awareness of the need for greater border security, additional training and stricter laws so that any future occurrences of wildlife smuggling may be quickly detected or even avoided.”

Dorsett said the country had also approved in principle the creation of a San Salvador National Park, something he said the government was confident would help provide protection for the sub-species found there.

Updated: 4:30 PM

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