Although iguanas are vital to many ecosystems, they face serious threats. Deforestation and other human-caused disturbances such as predation and competition from non-native species, hunting, smuggling for the illicit wildlife trade, and unregulated tourism, have brought many species near extinction.
On a recent trip to the Galápagos, I could hardly contain my joy at seeing some of the animals that, until then, I had only seen on TV. The marine iguanas were one of my favorites, blending in with the lava rocks, not giving a care in the world about the human activity around them. But I noticed them doing something interesting.