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dc.contributor.authorRuyle, Leslie Eileen
dc.description.abstractEffective conservation of endangered wildlife requires a multi-disciplinary understanding of issues. Ecological knowledge of species combined with the effects of human activities on those species should be applied when developing conservation programs. Conservation efforts need to be evaluated for their effectiveness in meeting both ecological and social requirements for protection of species and impacts on local human populations. My dissertation sought to contribute to conservation efforts of Central America iguanas by using traditional ecological studies for foundational knowledge of a critically endangered species, Ctenosaura melanosterna, and examining the impact of humans living with that species. Additionally, I evaluated iguana farming as a conservation strategy meant to benefit local populations as well as protect iguanas. Specifically, I examined four different sites of varying degrees of human activities and the impact of those activities on C. melanosterna in regards to tick loads, tail loss frequency, behavior and density. Tick loads were correlated to ctenosaur density and tail loss frequency was correlated to presence of domestic animals. Behaviors changed to be bolder with human presence and densities of ctenosaurs were highest at sites with humans, but no domestic animals. We found human impacts depend on availability of food subsidies as well as presence of domestic animals. We provide a study on the growth and survival of C. melanosterna that will serve as a baseline for the species in monitoring programs. We also conducted a population viability analysis that suggested the species may be in decline despite conservation protection. Finally, we evaluate a conservation strategy aimed at providing alternative income, an inexpensive protein source, and alleviation of hunting pressures on wild iguanid populations. We found little evidence that this strategy is meeting any of the proposed goals and may in fact be detrimental to conservation goals. We argue that farms may actually work against conservation by encouraging animals to be sold into the pet trade, and possibly putting wild populations in danger from release of farm animals that may carry parasites or disease because they were brought in as stock from other areas or as a consequence of farming practices.
dc.subjectBlack chested Spiny-tailed Iguana, Jamo, Ctenosaura melanosterna, Population dynamics, Mark-recapture, Program MARK, Population estimation, Life history, Lizards, Reptiles, Iguanas, Ctenosaurs, Farming, Conservation
dc.titleAll of your eggs in one basket
dc.title.alternativeconservation of a microendemic endangered species
dc.description.departmentCollege of Environment and Design
dc.description.advisorJohn C Maerz
dc.description.committeeJohn C Maerz
dc.description.committeePatricia Gowaty
dc.description.committeeJ. Whitfield Gibbons
dc.description.committeeWilliam Fitt
dc.description.committeeJohn Carroll

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