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PEACEAnimals President’s Corner: Watch Out for Iguanas!

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The Bay of Banderas region is a natural habitat for iguanas, but their territory is being gobbled up by new condo buildings popping up everywhere. PEACEAnimals President, Clare Leach, tells us about a recent encounter that, sadly, ended in the tragic death of the reptile.

I debated about writing about this but, several days later, I still feel compelled. For those of you who live in Puerto Vallarta, I think it will resonate and, for those who don’t, I hope it will rouse some compassion.

On Thursday afternoon, I was driving back from the Romantic Zone and pleasantly surprised that there was little traffic on the Barra de Navidad highway back to our place. As I rounded the corner going up the hill headed south, I spied an Iguana head held high debating to cross the road. I held my breath, slowed down, and missed him.

I honked my horn and flashed the car coming toward me, as the iguana was now in the middle of the road. The other car was close enough, I think, to see the lizard, which was fairly large. I could see it, whether through sheer instinct or “thinking”, being confused and looking all around, seemingly frightened. I honked again but the iguana was at a standstill. The reptile headed across the road and the other car crushed it.

We all drive too fast at times, me certainly included. I felt bad on many levels. The faster we go, being so busy, the harder it is to see the smaller things right in our path. The Bay of Banderas region is a natural habitat for Iguanas, but their territory is being gobbled up by new condo buildings popping up everywhere.

In all my years here, I have not seen an iguana near town trying to cross the highway. Many might say, “Hey, Clare, it was just an Iguana”. Yes, but if you could have seen it’s eyes and confusion, I dare say any kindhearted soul would be touched by the sudden and violent death. Now each day when I think of the iguana it encourages me to be mindful of slowing down and to think again, as Vallarta grows at what seems an alarming rate, that we are displacing species that once thrived here.

Griffin Page wrote that, “The Green Iguana was once encountered regularly in tropical forests, near rivers, arroyos, lagoons and mangroves.” She says mainly due to massive hunting of this species for sale as pets and the loss of habitat, their numbers have dramatically declined. “They are now considered endangered and protected by most countries where they live.”

Iguana are native to Puerto Vallarta. Now there is one less. Even though I saw him for only than a moment I still grieve his loss.

As Charles Darwin said, “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

Founded in 2013, PeaceAnimals is a free mobile spay/neuter program operating primarily in the greater Banderas Bay area of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It is a registered Mexican AC (non profit) and has 501 (c) (3) status in the U.S. under the umbrella of Banderas Bay Charities, Inc., which offers tax-deductible receipts in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

For more information, or to make a much-needed donation, please visit peaceanimals.org.

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