The international group was inspired by the island’s iguana conservation efforts
Discover Dominica Authority, in collaboration with the Division of Forestry, Wildlife & Parks and WildDominique, was pleased to partner with the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group (ISG) in hosting its annual meeting in Dominica. The ISG is a volunteer member network and the expert arm of the IUCN that guides and implements effective conservation measures for iguanas and their habitats worldwide. The group was conceptualized in the Caribbean in 1997 with the rediscovery of the Jamaican Rock Iguana and has grown to include all 46 iguana species with nearly 100 members representing over 20 countries.
Every year, the ISG aims to host its annual meeting in a country/region engaged in iguana conservation. After two years of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and inspired by the on-the-ground conservation efforts, the ISG chose to host its conference in Dominica at Jungle Bay Dominica from November 6 – 12, 2022.
The aim of this year’s meeting was two-fold: from November 7 – 9, the ISG international membership shared verbal and poster presentations focusing on global iguana conservation, research and management, discussions on diversity in the field, and membership; and from November 10 – 11, regional participants gathered to develop a Lesser Antillean Iguana Conservation Action Plan.
The hard work and initiative undertaken by the island representatives resulted in all islands within the Lesser Antillean Iguana’s home range coming together to create a region-wide plan for the first time – a critical turning point for conservation in the Caribbean.
The in-person participants represented the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Utila, Costa Rica, Venezuela, USA, UK, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, St Eustatius, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, while other countries were represented through virtual participation.
The recent addition of resorts with conference spaces to Dominica’s accommodation sector has contributed significantly to a growth in MICE tourism (Meetings-Incentives-Conferences-Exhibitions). Discover Dominica Authority continues to collaborate with stakeholders within this sector to attract and host large conferences. The MICE tourism sector shows strong potential to boost stayover visitation and expenditure on island.