Blue Iguana is a critically endangered species of lizard of the
genus Cyclura endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Previously listed
as a subspecies of the Cuban Iguana, it was reclassified as a separate
species in 2004 due to genetic differences discovered four years
earlier. The Blue Iguana is one of the longest-living species of
lizard (possibly up to 69 years) and is a national symbol of the
Cayman Islands. It prefers rocky, sunlit, open areas in dry forests or
near the shore, as females must dig holes in the sand to lay eggs in
June and July. Their vegetarian diet includes plants, fruits, and
flowers. Their coloration is tan to gray with a bluish cast that is
more pronounced during the breeding season, and more so in males. They
are large and heavy-bodied with a dorsal crest of short spines running
from the base of the neck to the end of the tail. The fossil record
indicates that the Blue Iguana was abundant before European
colonization; but fewer than 15 animals remained in the wild by 2003,
and this wild population was predicted to become extinct within the
first decade of the 21st century. Since 2004, 219 captive-bred animals
have been released into a preserve on Grand Cayman run by a
partnership headed by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in an
attempt to save the species. At least five non-profit organizations
are working with the government of the Cayman Islands to ensure the
survival of the Blue Iguana.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Seven Years' War: British forces under Robert Clive defeated troops
under Siraj ud-Daulah at the Battle of Plassey, allowing the British
East India Company to annex Bengal.
Edgardo Mortara, a six-year-old Jewish boy, was seized by Papal
authorities and taken to be raised as a Roman Catholic.
The Parliament of Canada passed the Rocky Mountains Park Act,
creating Banff National Park as Canada's first national park.
Led by French historian Pierre de Coubertin, an international
congress at the Sorbonne in Paris founded the International Olympic
Committee to reinstate the Ancient Olympic Games.
The video game Sonic the Hedgehog was first released, propelling the
Sega Genesis 16-bit console into mass popularity.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
chutzpah: (slang) Nearly arrogant courage; utter audacity, effrontery
Wikiquote of the day:
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there
that needs to be done.
-- Alan Turing