Land iguanas, the return to the Galápagos


It was since Darwin’s time that Santiago Island was not as populated with land iguanas . It seems that the merit of their return, two centuries after their appearance from the Galàpagos , is due to an ecological restoration program . Land iguanas have returned to reproduce. Since 2019 there have been more than 3,100 copies. Thanks to the new program, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition has brought the species back to the island. These are specimens of Conolophus subcristatus of all ages.


Today we are enthusiastically experiencing the ecological restoration of an island that was hit hard in the past.

Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment




It is a specimen known as the “Galàpagos terrestrial iguana”, as it is a native species of the Pacific archipelago. This species, devoid of predators, is however considered fragile by the IUCN, in its red list. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the iguanas of the Galàpagos even seemed locally extinct. Ecuador, to which the Galàpagos Islands belong, has been trying for years to bring the terrestrial iguana back to its local ecosystem .


187 years later we return to witness a healthy population of terrestrial iguanas, with adults, juveniles and babies, on Santiago Island. This is a great conservation achievement and bolsters our hopes of restoring islands that have been severely affected by alien species.

Danny Rueda Cordova, director of the Galápagos National Park



Another good news recently related to the biodiversity of the Galàpagos is the return, after more than 100 years, of the “fantastic” giant tortoise .



  • They had disappeared for almost two centuries from the Galápagos: now the terrestrial iguanas are back to be born on the island of Santiago (


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