Students will learn how to preserve endemic plants and animals

The National Museum of Jamaica (NMJ), a division of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), has started a program to teach students about the preservation of plants and animals endemic to Jamaica.

Around 60 pupils and their teachers from three primary schools, along with members of the Kingston town center community, will take part in a presentation on iguana conservation on Tuesday May 17 at the NMJ Lecture Hall, Tower Street, in Kingston, from 10:00 a.m.

The talk, which will be presented by the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, in conjunction with Kingston’s Hope Zoo, will feature a reading from a book called “Lizards of Liguanea.” The book will be presented at the IOJ by Bronze Musgrave winner for literature, Blake Carnegie, at the event.

The Jamaican iguana, an endangered species, is found in the hilly areas of Hellshire at St. Catherine.

NMJ Acting Outreach Officer and Curator Alexis McDavid told JIS News that Hope Zoo will use live iguanas to teach and interact with students about the importance of preserving Jamaica’s endemic animals.

Ms McDavid said the iguana, a protected species, was once hunted for food by the Tainos, Jamaica’s original inhabitants.

“What we’re trying to do is connect what the Tainos have done, participating in iguanas for food and how kids can preserve Jamaica’s flora and fauna,” she added.

The outreach worker noted that iguanas face daily threats, such as “deforestation, mining operations that destroy their homes, and attacks by dogs and mongooses, which hunt and kill young iguanas.”

She said the work of the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation and the Institute in promoting the usefulness of iguanas in the ecosystem has helped prevent a decline in the iguana population.

“Iguanas have been around for a long time, and we’d like them to live hundreds of years longer,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms. McDavid said groups or individuals interested in participating in NMJ tours or exhibits can contact the IOJ at 876-922-0620-6.