"The Jamaican Iguana declined dramatically during the second half of the 19th century, probably due to the introduction of the Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus [=auropunctatus])"-IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
| Rare Jamaican Rock Iguana -- Hope Gardens Zoo, St. Andrew, Jamaica. (1994)|
(About): The Hope Gardens Zoo was named for a large estate once owned by the family who also possessed the infamous (cursed) Hope Diamond, now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. The iguana, once plentiful throughout the island, was thought hunted into extinction. This one was part of a clutch with eggs found in the Hellshire Hills, in the parish of St. Catherine. The Jamaican iguana was discovered in the early 1990s in the Hellshire's dry forest that became a sanctuary. The area also has an important Yamaye petroglyph inscribed Taino cave with a clearwater spring at the base of a limestone cenote-like pit. The area is strewn with thorn or maka bushes (maka--from maccaw or makafat palm, a favorite fruit of the now extinct bird) and a variety of exotic cacti. --Photography and artwork copyrighted by Michael Auld
- "Iguanas love de sun, so we sit on rocks soakin' up its life-givin' ultraviolet rays," Iggi said, using more big words that he had learned in biology class. "De iguana's back is like de rays of de sun. When dey eat us, de Taíno tek in all de energy from de sun dat is in our flesh," Iggi explained.
- "Woi! Yu don't hate dem for that? I mean, bein' hunted by dem an' all," Ticky-Ticky asked.
- "Mí gran-fadah say dat dese are de laws of nature dat we mus' follow," Iggy explained. "Him say humans 'unt us, an' dis is how nature is. Him say dat we iguanas eat plants, an' dat's de plant's destiny. My fadah tol' me dat humans, other animals, de plants, de sea, de universe... every t'ing mus' follow dese laws. But de Taíno believe dat they should neva eat de young. If a 'unter turn a young animal into a orphan, de 'unter had to adopt an' tek care of de orphan.
The Twins: IguanaboinaAs Iguana-Boina, the god was equal to sun deities around the world and a major half of the concept of "the source of life".
|Right: Boinayel. mboi = serpent. una = dark. His name |
means Son (el) of the Dark Cloud-Serpent (boina)
Left: Marohu (ma = without. aro = clouds). Boinayel's twin brother is the iguana lizard whose serrated dorsal crest suggests the rays of the sun.
|Above: Sculpture of the Iguana-Boina (a) Plexiglass and welded steel; 9 feet tall);|
| (c) Iguana-Boina intersect as support of a house, |
the visualization of an agricultural
people who believed that the sun and
rainfall were the twin sources of life.
|(b) Detail of a wooden upright of a bohio or |