Press Officer

First name Last Name Adam M. Roberts

Lizards Crawl Onto CITES Appendices:

International Pet Trade Harming Wild Populations

(Doha) – Four species of spiny-tailed iguanas that are highly sought after by private collectors in the USA and Europe were approved for inclusion on CITES Appendix II at today’s meeting when all governments present supported proposals submitted by Guatemala and Honduras.

“These are critically endangered species and poached individuals can sell for as much as $100 as part of the illegal international pet trade,” said Maria Elena Sanchez, Coordinator of the Latin America Regional Bureau for the Species Survival Network and executive director of the Mexico-based organization Teyeliz. “We congratulate Honduras and Guatemala on their successful proposals to protect these rare animals.”

The four newly listed iguana species live only in Honduras and Guatemala. Three of them have wild populations of fewer than 2,500 mature individuals.

“CITES Appendix II will help Honduras and Guatemala to protect these rare animals. I hope that with proper enforcement and monitoring the predicted dramatic decline of these species in the wild can be averted,” added Dr. Teresa Telecky, Executive Director of the Species Survival Network and Wildlife Director for Humane Society International.

Editor’s Notes:

  • The four species are Baker’s spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), Roatan spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura oedirhina), and Honduran paleata spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura melanosterna), and Guatemalan spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura palearis) of Guatemala.
  • The four species are protected from collection and trade by domestic laws of Honduras and Guatemala; CITES Appendix II listing will support these laws.
  • In addition to international trade, the species are threatened by habitat loss.