(CNN) — The last person to officially record seeing a land iguana on Santiago Island in the Galapagos was Charles Darwin in 1835. After that, iguanas were erased from the island, wiped out by invasive predators like the feral pig.
They were introduced to the coastal regions Puerto Nuevo and Bucanero, authorities said in a statement, which have ecosystems that closely mimic their former home.
More than 1,000 iguanas were relocated from the Galapagos’ North Seymour Island by the national park authority.
The reintroduction initiative, carried out alongside New Zealand’s Massey University, was developed in response to the depletion of vegetation like the cactus on North Seymour Island, threatening the some 5,000 iguanas’ food source.
Some iguanas have remained on North Seymour Island to avoid compromising its existing vegetation. Galapagos ecosystems director Danny Rueda explained: “The land iguana is a herbivore that helps ecosystems by dispersing seeds and maintaining open areas free from vegetation.”
Authorities will continue to monitor the Santiago Island iguanas, determining whether they’re creating nests and finding sufficient food. They’ll also keep a close eye on newer species like rodents and ants to prevent them disturbing the iguanas’ nests.