Home range and habitat associations of a Bahamian iguana: implications for conservation

Authors

  • Charles R. Knapp,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
    2. Conservation Department, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL, 60605, USA
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  • Audrey K. Owens

    1. Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30605, USA
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All correspondence to: C. R. Knapp. Tel: 352-846-0643; Fax: 352-392-6984; E-mail: cknapp@ufl.edu

Abstract

The Bahamian Andros iguana (Cyclura cychlura cychlura) is an endangered lizard threatened by habitat loss, illegal hunting, impacts from historic large-scale logging practices and predation by feral animals (e.g. cats, dogs and hogs). There is interest by local and national conservation organisations to demarcate protected areas for the iguana in the southern portion of its range. However, no life history information is available for the lizard. In order to provide data that can be applied in a science-based management strategy for the Andros iguana, we investigated seasonal variation in home-range size and habitat selection of the iguana using radio telemetry. Home ranges were the largest reported to date for free-ranging Cyclura iguanas (Fixed 95% Kernel maximums: 30.58 ha for males, 5.63 ha for females). Habitat selection using the Euclidean Distance method revealed that open pine was the only habitat type out of four where iguanas occurred more than expected by chance. However, the pair-wise comparisons of habitat types reveal that iguanas were found significantly closer to open pine and shrubland than to closed pine. We failed to uncover selection of cumulative home-range placement throughout our multi-habitat study areas. Conservation implications of the dynamic seasonal home-range fluctuations and habitat usage are discussed and recommendations are offered for establishing protected areas.

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