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Originally published October 21, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Page modified October 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

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Grand Cayman blue iguanas now listed as endangered

Blue iguanas on Grand Cayman island are no longer considered a critically endangered species.

The Associated Press

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands —

Blue iguanas on Grand Cayman island are no longer considered a critically endangered species.

A decade ago, there were just 10 to 25 blue iguanas living in the wild and they were listed as critically endangered. But now that the wild population has risen to 750, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has downlisted the species from critically endangered to endangered.

It's a major victory for a breeding program that rears and releases blue iguanas on Grand Cayman, the only place in the world where the turquoise-colored reptiles live in the wild.

Fred Burton is the director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program. In a Friday statement, he said the program is confident that it can achieve its long-term goal of restoring 1,000 blue iguanas to Grand Cayman's shrublands.

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