Wants accounting of iguana counters

| 21/09/2016

I would like to find out how many weeks it takes, and money spent, to count iguanas in Little Cayman. Looks like a government vehicle is on the road all day (seven days), not ONE Caymanian among the “counters”.  Who pays for all of that? And why can’t we employ Caymanians, since we have so many unemployed? I am sure that these people, wherever they are from, have their room and board paid for, and wasting gas driving up and down, for what? I would think we have more important things in Little Cayman that should be taken care of (road for one).

Auntie’s answer: It seems that this is the month for questions about iguanas, both the invasive and indigenous species. Here is the previous answer about the very unwelcome version: New plan to get rid of the green iguana.

Ask Auntie is sponsored by RBC

Ask Auntie is sponsored by RBC

To find out about the counters on Little Cayman, I asked the Department of Environment (DoE) for clarification and I hope the response allays your concerns. You are right that the people you saw were not Caymanian, but there is a good reason for that, the department explained: “The team on Little Cayman working on iguanas was a group of students (and occasionally their supervisor) from Mississippi State University. Their work is grant funded through that university, not by the Cayman Islands. They are studying the genetics of the Sister Isles Rock Iguanas, to better understand what has happened, and is now happening to their population.

“The work may eventually be able to tell us something about the iguana population size before the first humans arrived in Little Cayman. The project is being done in association with the Department of Environment, which has been providing a vehicle and accommodation for the team, nothing more. It is very low cost from the government’s point of view.”

In addition, this team erected sheet metal enclosures around iguana nests so the students could catch the emerging hatchlings. They then tagged them and took small blood samples from each for genetic analysis before releasing the iguanas back into the wild.

The DoE also addressed your concern about all the driving back and forth. “The nest enclosures had to be checked several times a day, every day, to make sure hatchlings that emerged weren’t stuck in the enclosures so long that snakes might find them and eat them. That is why the truck has been so busy.”

To recap, their university funded the work done by the students and while the government did provide the vehicle and accommodation, overall there seems to have been relatively little official outlay. It sounds like it was a good deal and it will be interesting to see the results of their research.

Tags: ,

Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AP says:

    “Stop bitching about everybody else and what they’ve done to you and start cleaning up your own sh$t yourself.
    The only person who can make you a victim is you.”
    ― Max Patrick

    AP: Have no idea who Max Patrick is, but like his quotes.