Pink Iguanas? Seeing is Believing


Pink Iguana © GNPD / Galápagos Conservancy

We were privileged to see an incredible abundance of wildlife on the Galapagos Islands and in the water surrounding the islands (which I soon will report on), but even with several cocktails, we never saw a pink iguana.

However, such a lizard does exist around the remote region of the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island. In a joint effort over the past ten months, rangers from the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and Galapagos Conservancy, have undertaken a series of expeditions to document where these animals are and update their current numbers. It’s that that the current global population of Pink Iguanas is estimated at just 211 adults, with no juvenile iguanas having ever been documented. With a dwindling and aging adult population, there is global concern that the species is fast approaching extinction.

Since the October 2021 announcement of “Iniciativa Galápagos” between GNPD and Galápagos Conservancy to help save the Pink Iguana, seven expeditions have been undertaken to understand the current status and threats facing the species.

Very different looking juvenile Pink Iguana © GNPD / Galápagos Conservancy

The good news is that a team of researchers recently discovered and documented the first nesting sites and the first ever hatchling and juvenile iguanas. Also, dozens of hidden trail cameras deployed by the team around the volcano have now documented extensive evidence of nesting activities of Pink Iguanas.

Iniciativa Galápagos is now urgently focused on providing further support for research, monitoring and protection of Pink Iguana nesting sites. To advance these efforts, the GNPD, with funding from the Galápagos Conservancy, has established a permanent field station with a 360-degree view of the volcano to help protect against illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking.

About Galapagos Conservancy: For more than 35 years, Galapagos Conservancy has helped protect the unique biodiversity and ecosystems of Galapagos by supporting research, conservation, outreach, and building a sustainable society. Galapagos Conservancy is the only US-based organization focused exclusively on protecting the Galapagos archipelago. The Galapagos Conservancy and the Galapagos National Park Directorate work together on the Initiativa Galápagos — a collaborative effort to restore endemic species of Galápagos’ populations to their historical distribution and numbers across Galapagos.