Since 1994, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Senckenberg Nature Research Society have worked jointly to preserve the Utila Spiny-Tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), which lives only on the island of Utila. Several other organizations, including Honduran NGOs, joined their efforts and in 1997 the Iguana Research and Breeding Station (IRBS) was founded. Since 1994 more than 500 volunteers have assisted with work at the station.
In 2008 the IRBS was recognized by the Honduran Government as an NGO, under the Bay Islands Foundation.
Preserving the Utila Iguana and its critical mangrove habitat is not our only goal. We are also working towards:
Sustainable development of Utila (a popular destination for divers) to protect the island’s natural resources.
Enhancing awareness among the people living and working in Utila, including working with schools and educating children and young people on the island about their environment.
We aim to buy all our materials from local businesses and hire local labour as far as possible in order to support the Utilan economy. Our volunteers are also encouraged to make their purchases in local shops.
The Utila Iguana has become emblematic for the conservation of the important mangrove habitat, the ecological significance and endangered status of which is often underestimated compared to rainforest and coral reefs.
Since 1998 the Iguana Station has provided a home base for environmental education efforts, iguana breeding and ecological research. Most of the work has been done with the help of volunteers, who spend between 4 and 12 weeks at the Station.
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