New plan to get rid of the green iguana

| 13/09/2016

With about 500K green iguanas estimated to be now living amongst us and the recent success of the iguana culling week which demonstrated a need for ongoing culling, what is government’s plan to do with this invasive species going forward? Will there be year round culling, will government contract with individuals or will they allow this problem to escalate further?

Auntie’s answer: The Department of Environment (DoE) is indeed continuing the mammoth task of dealing with the invasion of the green iguanas. I asked a DoE officer what is being done and he explained that government has budgeted $365,000 from now to the end of 2017 to “step up efforts to control the green iguanas”. Some of the money will go toward work in the Sister Islands but most will be used to cull green iguanas on Grand Cayman.

In this report on CNS – Iguana bounty chaos adds to challenges – iguana expert Fred Burton, who is working with the DoE on this issue, explained at the last meeting of the National Conservation Council some of the problems they dealt with during the pilot culling and the challenges going forward.

However, a plan appears to be in place and the officer I spoke to said the DoE will be using the funds to contract local companies with the appropriate Trade and Business Licence to do the culling. Initial contracts will be put out to bid starting early in 2017, with additional bids sought as the work progresses. The official said that this effort would continue “until the money runs out” but emphasised that “it seems unlikely that escalation of the green iguana problem can be completely stopped this coming year, but it will at least be slowed down”.

As for farther down the road, he said, “In the longer term, bringing green iguana numbers down will require a bigger annual investment of funds and human resources than is currently available.”

Burton’s report on this year’s cull and options going forward, which you can find on the CNS Library here, was presented at a general meeting of the National Conservation Council held 24 August 2016. The report includes information on how the culls were organised, how much money was spent on the initiative and how many iguanas were killed. For anyone wanting to know all the whys and wherefores of the culling, it makes for very interesting reading.

I realise that many people, myself included, would prefer this problem were solved now, but realistically it will take a good while to bring down the numbers. The DoE is certainly making an effort, though.

I look forward to the day that the green iguanas join the endangered species list in Cayman.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (4)

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  1. Cayguy says:

    Meanwhile….I just saw around 14,000 new baby iguanas running on the roads since the last cull. ok, back to sleep ZZZZZZZ

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it could be a new tourist attraction ? Pay a gov’t license per day to shoot iguanas ? We could use BB guns 365,000 saved

  3. MM says:

    WTF! Seriously? Contract a company?

    Why not hire some full time staff (aka unemployed Caymanians) at least 4 or 5 at an annual salary of no more than 36k to work 5 days per week, for the year. Even 5 full time staff members at that salary would not use even half the annual budget! Does DoE have any idea what a private company will charge to do the same thing?

    There is no hope for this island, none at all.


    Can you please ask the DoE what is the difficulty with employing a full-time team as civil servant employees of the DoE in order to tackle this problem on an ongoing basis as a full-time position? Can we also have them outline the complexities of such an arrangement in detail?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can’t we get the Oxitec people to cross breed the green iguanas with mosquitoes so that they die just after birth?