Monday, February 13, 2012

Chasing Rare Lizards

Hispaniolan or Ricordi's Ground Iguana (Cyclura ricordi), Dominican Republic
This handsome fellow is one of the last of his species, and finding him was one of my primary goals for my ten-day trip to the Dominican Republic.  Although critically endangered, they were surprisingly easy to find. Their last refuge, and the only place to have any hope of seeing them, is on Isla Cabritos in Lago Enriquillo National Park.

We went across the lake to the island at dawn, hoping for good light - and to avoid the brutal heat. This saline lake in the southern part of the DR is actually 40 meters below sea level and is the hottest spot in the country.  Reptiles like these only come of their burrows when the temperatures allow, so we had to wait for a short time until this one emerged, and move slowly to avoid driving him back underground.

In the end, I found only 2 of these rare lizards, but I was most pleased with the simple portrait, the morning light subtly highlighting his striking red eye. However, I was also happy to get at least one shot of the other animal - a female - feeding on cactus fruit.

By eleven o'clock, the light was long gone, and the heat unbearable, so we retreated. I'm guessing the iguanas couldn't have been happier on both counts.

Nikon D3, 70-200 Nikkor lens

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I love lizards. Wonderful colours with the fruit, too!