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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Clutch of rare lizard eggs hatch
Utila iguana
In the wild Utila iguanas live in mangrove forests
Nine critically-endangered lizards, native only to a small Caribbean island, have been born at London Zoo.

The Utila iguana eggs hatched at the Regent's Park site in July as part of a programme to save them from extinction.

Native to the island of Utila, the creatures measure up to 15cm (6in) and are the only type of spiny-tailed iguana to live in mangrove swamps.

The babies will be exported to zoos in Spain, Poland and California next month to continue the breeding programme.

Known as Swampers, because of their habitat, they survive on a diet of small insects and leafy greens.

Zoological Society of London's Richard Gibson, said: "The future of the Utila iguana is currently hanging in the balance as their habitat, especially nesting beaches, is under threat from tourist and residential developments.

"It was less then 10 years ago that the species arrived in European zoos and the breeding project has proven so successful, it should ensure their long-term survival if something terrible were to happen in the wild."

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