Record Details

Hines, Kirsten N
Effects of ecotourism on endangered Northern Bahamian rock iguanas (Cyclura cychlura)
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Journal Article
Cyclura cychlura
This study evaluated effects of tourist visitation and supplemental feeding on the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas (Cyclura cychlura) in the Exumas, The Bahamas. The study examined flight behavior and diet on islands that were visited versus those not visited by tourists. Iguanas on visited islands were less wary of human presence than those on non-visited islands. Unlike on non-visited islands, iguanas on beaches where they were fed by tourists consumed people-influenced items including trash (e.g., styrofoam, aluminum foil), non-native fruits and vegetables (e.g., grapes, tomatoes), and sand. Non-native fruits provided a higher liquid content diet than did native vegetation, which, when mixed with sand, created cement-like feces that may have medical consequences. Tourism has encouraged an increase in these iguana populations, but it is now clear that negative impacts, such as loss of wariness and dietary shifts shown in this study as well as possible demographic consequences, also are occurring. These adverse effects might be ameliorated by changed practices, but such changes must be instituted with full participation by local stake holders.