The boa pictured here is a large female from Big Ambergris Cay, a small island located on the eastern edge of the Caicos Islands. Big Ambergris has the largest remaining population of this species and one of the densest-known boa populations in the world. The island is only about 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers) in area, but population estimates suggest there are over 2,000 snakes there!
Unfortunately, Big Ambergris Cay is now in the process of being developed as an exclusive private resort community. The challenge ahead will be to find a balance between the needs of humans and native wildlife, like the boas. Fortunately, both the government and the developers recognize this challenge and are working with conservationist to ensure such a balance is achieved.
Glenn Gerber is head of the San Diego Zoo’s Caribbean Regional Program. Read his previous post, Boas in the Caribbean.