The Pro Iguana Verde Foundation started an iguana park in Costa Rica in order to protect the endangered species. Iguanas had been hunted to the edge of extinction despite government bans. Part of the reason for the lack of enforcement is that the iguana is prized as a delicious meat in Costa Rica. It is known locally as "pollo de palo", or "chicken of the trees."
German biologist Dr. Dagmar Werner, the founder of the Pro Iguana Verde Foundation, began her work in hopes that local farmers would turn to iguana farming rather than raising cattle. Cattle, whose hooves tear up what's left of the forest floor after slash-and-burn ranchers have cleared the rainforest for their fields, are more dangerous to the rainforest than iguanas, who live in and off the trees. The Pro Iguana Verde Foundation breeds iguanas at its park and reintroduces them into the rainforest.