The islands support 175 resident and migrant species of birds, including flocks of greater flamingos, frigate birds, ospreys, brown pelicans, the ruby throated humming bird, the belted kingfisher, white billed tropic birds, black-necked stilts, snowy plovers, peregrine falcons, red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, Baltimore orioles and scarlet tanagers and many others. There are lizards, iguanas, two species of snake, including a pygmy boa, and two species of bat.
The Turks and Caicos National Trust (in Providenciales, Phone:649 941 5710, Fax:649 941 4258,email: tc.n...@tciway.tc) plans to develop and protect the Princess Alexandra National Park on Providenciales’ north shore. The south parts of North, Middle and East Caicos have been designated an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention(contact the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland, tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail: ram...@ramsar.org ) for the protection of waterbirds, lobster, conch, flora and a fish nursery. A system of conservation has been set up: the islands boast 11 national parks, 4 sanctuaries, 10 nature reserves & 7 historical sites: entrance to sanctuaries by permit only.
In 1998 the British Government approved an allocation of US$1.6mn for the Turks and Caicos to implement a Coastal Resource Management Programme Project (CRMP). Its aim is to conserve the natural resources of the islands by more effective management of protected areas, revitalizing the National Parks Service, setting up a headquarters and a National Environment Centre on Provo. A public awareness programme will educate people about the benefits of national parks and a scientific monitoring programme will be initiated for the Marine Parks. The Government will work in collaboration with the National Trust to implement the programme and a 1% tax on food, drinks and accommodation goes into a special fund.
Ambergris Cay is home to the largest population of Turks and Caicos rock iguana (Cyclura carinata) in the islands. It is also the private island residence of Turks & Caicos Sporting Club. The iguanas are listed as an endangered species and “is of extreme interest to both developers and members of Ambergris Cay, as the island remains the only location where humans and the rock iguanas co-exist. Little Water Cay is their most famous refuge, a small island totally inhabited by some 2000 Rock Iguanas which has a board walk that goes through the island for easy viewing of these amazing creatures.