A volcano has erupted on an island in the Galapagos that is home to a critically endangered iguana, the Galapagos National Park announced on Friday, but it said the species was far from the affected area.
The Wolf volcano’s slopes host the pink iguana, only 211 of which were reported to be left on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, as of last August.
The volcano, the highest of the Galapagos, is some 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the nearest human settlement.
In a statement shared on Facebook on Friday, the Galapagos National Park said the volcano was emitting plumes of smoke and ash several thousand metres high, which were moving towards the north side of the island where no people are at risk.
The national park said it sent eight park rangers and scientists working with the pink iguanas to check out the situation on Friday morning as a matter of precaution.
“The team confirmed that the habitat of these species is far from the eruption and the impact zone, so no additional protection measures are currently being considered,” the statement read.
Located in the Pacific approximately 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a protected wildlife area and home to unique species of flora and fauna.
“Similar in appearance to Galapagos land iguanas, they have a short head and powerful hind legs with sharp claws on their toes, but despite their intimidating appearance they are primarily herbivores – feeding on prickly pear leaves and fruit,” according to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT).
“Their only defining characteristic is their colouring; pink with dark vertical stripes along their body.”
The Wolf volcano last erupted in 2015 after 33 years of inactivity, without affecting local wildlife.