Forty years ago today, President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act to help save animals, plants and their habitats from extinction. Today, we celebrate the successes of the law and the 2,140 species it continues to protect – including 14 endangered or threatened species at Shedd.
11 posts categorized "Rock Iguana Research"
December 28, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 17 is Endangered Species Day. But we live among threatened and endangered plant and animal species every day. You might see them during a bird walk on the lakefront or on a hike through the Cook County forest preserves. You will see them swimming in Shedd’s exhibits and even growing in our gardens.
November 10, 2011
Dr. Chuck Knapp, Shedd’s director of conservation and research, has been one of Shedd’s most active ambassadors for conservation for nearly 20 years. Anyone who has been on one of Shedd’s iguana research expeditions knows Chuck and his passion for West Indian rock iguanas. Since the early 1990s, he has been a champion of the critically endangered iguana species that populate remote islands in the Bahamas.
Each island or cluster of tiny cays (pronounced “keys”) has its endemic species; Chuck has concentrated on the iguanas of Andros and the Exumas chain. In addition to his months-long fieldwork, Chuck has gone into settlement schools and community meetings to raise local awareness of—and pride in—the unique iguanas and foster a desire to conserve them. His long-time collaboration with the Bahamas National Trust, a conservation organization, resulted in the creation and expansion of a marine park that encompasses the lizards’ dwindling habitat. He was also instrumental in developing an international action plan to ensure the protection of the iguanas on Andros.
June 06, 2011
To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, we'll be posting every day this week about current issues facing oceans.
We rely on the oceans to regulate the world’s temperatures, provide us with food and produce most of the oxygen we breathe every day. Just as the seas support us, we protect them by responsibly managing marine resources, from our global fisheries to our coastal tourist hotspots. Now the oceans are facing a threat that we must work together to address: climate change.
April 07, 2009
The scientists, staff and volunteers of Shedd's annual West Indian Rock Iguana Research Expedition have returned home after a successful trip to the Bahamas.
Working with Dr. Chuck Knapp gave us a new appreciation for the difficult and rewarding nature of field work. Our team of volunteers and scientists have returned to our day jobs, but the work of Dr. Knapp and Dr. Trevor Zachariah (pictured) continues. One of Dr. Knapp's goals is to use the data the volunteer groups gathered to help the Bahamian government protect a large part of South Andros Island. The 47 iguanas collected, carefully measured and tagged will bring Dr. Knapp closer to his goal of securing a protected area for the Andros Iguanas.
March 30, 2009
All of the day-to-day operations on the R/V Coral Reef II are all handled by just three people. Our two captains, Captain John Rothchild and Captain Lou Roth, don't just navigate the boat. They also fix whatever breaks and keep everything in ship shape. They are helped by Chef Matt Cohen, who cooks our breakfast lunch and dinner. In this podcast, Captain Lou Roth talks about life on the R/V Coral Reef II and why he always enjoys the annual iguana research trip.
Posted by Dave Freeman, web contributor
March 27, 2009
We have been working hard to collect and study as many iguanas as we can over the past few days, and each day we look forward to returning to the R/V Coral Reef II (pictured) so that we can hook up our satellite terminal and download all of your questions and comments. It feels great to know students across the United States are learning along with us, and we really enjoy answering your questions. At night we are busy processing all of the blood samples that are collected from the iguanas we collected, but we are doing our best to answer as many questions as we can each night. We have answered some of your questions below, and we look forward to answering more soon.
"What is the longest iguana you've ever found?"
Head to tail iguanas can be as long as 52 inches (132 centimeters)
"How do iguanas talk to each other?"
Iguanas don't exactly talk to each other like people do, but they do communicate with one another through bobbing their heads, puffing up their bodies and other movements.
March 25, 2009
Here are answers to some of the questions members of the Rock Iguana Research Expedition have received over the past few days:
"What types of fish live in the water? Can you take pictures of them under the water?"
There are hundreds of fish in the Bahamas, but some of the more common fish we might see while snorkeling in Andros include: spotted eagle rays, barracuda, parrotfish, needlefish, snappers, nassau grouper, sergeant majors, bluehead wrasse and nurse sharks. Hopefully you can research some of these fish on your own. Yes, it is possible to take pictures underwater with special waterproof cameras.
March 23, 2009
Iguana research proves to be hard, but rewarding.
From our floating research station, the R/V Coral Reef II, we are studying the Bahamian Andros iguana. Finding iguanas can be difficult, and today was our first day scrambling over rocky, brush-choked terrain searching for these large, endangered lizards.
Adrenaline surges through you when an iguana is spotted and it takes teamwork to surround and collect each animal. We spotted ten animals and were able to collect and release four of them. Dr. Knapp is gathering a wealth of data which he hopes will lead to a National Park set up specifically to protect the Andros iguanas.
Shedd has been active in Rock Iguana conservation, studying several Rock Iguana populations in the Bahamas since 1994. Volunteers have been helping researchers through Shedd's annual Iguana Research Expedition for the past 13 years.
Through its partnership with Wilderness Classroom, students, teachers, parents and friends will be able to learn right along with researchers and volunteers via blogs, photos, videos, and more. This unique opportunity will allow you to share the experience with us from your own home or classroom.