Restoring endangered, endemic or indigenous species is one of the National Parks Trust’s most critical programmes, as habitat loss threatens their survival.
The most successful species reintroduction so far is the Roseate Flamingo, to the salt ponds of Anegada. Flamingos once roamed the islands by the hundreds, but the entire population was hunted and removed over 50 years ago. A captive population of birds were donated by the Bermuda Aquarium Museum & Zoo in 1991 and released in Anegada; these have reproduced in the wild, providing a successful model of species restoration in the region. The Flamingos have settled into their new home very well and live mainly around Flamingo Pond, with occasional migrations to the eastern ponds.
For the best view of the flamingos, visitors should go to the bridge at Nutmeg Point on the south side of Flamingo Pond, which is slightly elevated and affords a panoramic view of the Pond. Binoculars are recommended to view their behavioral displays. Visitors should not attempt to cross the ponds to get closer to the birds, as this disturbs their natural processes.
The National Parks Trust’s second rehabilitation project began in 1997 for the rapidly declining population of endemic Anegada Rock Iguanas (Cyclura pinguis) on Anegada. The major threats facing the iguanas are starvation, habitat loss and hunting by wild cats. To give the juvenile iguanas a chance at survival, a Headstart Facility was constructed with assistance from scientists from the Iguana Specialist Group (ISG) and technical input from a consortium of zoos. In the first year 3 juveniles were captured from high-risk areas in the wild and placed in the Facility, where they are fed daily and measured monthly to assess their progress. The long-term project goals include the release of captive iguanas into the wild, habitat restoration and protected area status.