Blue iguana killed at Botanic Park by dog

| 22/06/2015 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Inky, the blue iguana, killed by a roaming dog Saturday 20 June 2015

(CNS): The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is reeling from yet another loss after Inky, one of the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park’s star iguanas, was killed by a stray dog this weekend. A large adult male, Inky is said to be one of the most photographed of the BIRP animals that lives at the park in Frank Sound. The death of another iconic iguana, the second this month, has devastated staff and researchers are urging the community to address the problem of roaming dogs.

Inky, who was often seen near the visitors’ centre, was reportedly attacked Sunday morning. He was rushed to Island Vets by the BIRP staff but the veterinarians there were unable to save him.

A spokesperson for the programme told CNS that the issue of pet owners not taking care of their animals is one of the biggest threats to the survival of a species that has been saved from the brink of extinction but is still very vulnerable.

“The loss of yet another blue iguana at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Sunday, to a roaming dog, demonstrates the immediate need for more responsible pet ownership in the Cayman Islands,” said the park director, John Lawrus. “Inky”, who was sponsored by Blue Dragon Tattoos, was also referred to as “Kinky”, he said.

Cayman News Service

Inky, the blue iguana

“He was a true ambassador for the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, as he greeted most arriving visitors to the Botanic Park in the parking area and visitor centre.  He is probably the most photographed blue iguana and was always asked for by returning visitors. It is sad day and big loss for the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park,” he added.

The devastating news comes just as legislators have voted to commit several hundred thousand dollars to the BIRP and the continued development of related conservation research and the wilderness centre in the Salina area in East End, where they are being released into the wild. But the threat from feral dogs and pets that are not properly controlled continues to put the entire programme in jeopardy after the incredible and world-famous work undertaken by Fred Burton, the director of the project, to conserve Cayman’s indigenous and beautiful blue iguana.

Combined with disappearing habitat and challenges to the programmes resources, the additional threat of dogs killing the iguanas is now taking a serious toll.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (45)

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  1. R says:

    Typical it takes tradegy to get things to happen….when the iguanas were killed by an unknown thing or person many years ago it got the iguana facility fenced better than the prison. I wonder if the park will get fenced…it must be 200000 dollars to do it properly…this is a good use of environmental slush fund me thinks….botanic park is a great feature in cayman and that fund should be directed there

  2. Anonymous says:

    Best idea I have heard in years. You take the Darwin prize!

  3. naugaracin says:

    Euthanize the darn dog.

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, Poor old Inky! Well, the Dinosaurs went into extinction and is of no more, what do you think will happen to the Blue Iguana’s?? Lots of talks about them always when something happens, never no talk about whats gonna happen to the endangered Caymanians in there own back yards! I guess they’ll soon have a Botanic Park for us too, who knows!!! Time to wake up Caymanians!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Only reason you’ll go extinct is because you’re shooting each other down in the street. Can’t really blame anyone but yourselves for that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, the Islands were named after turtles.

        Christopher Columbus sighted the Cayman Islands on May 10, 1503 and named them Las Tortugas after the numerous sea turtles.

        • Cruise Controller says:

          But the scrap book of the first cruise tourist, a certain Francis Drake, records that the visitors killed copious numbers of lizards (possibly caimans but more likely iguanas) and then set the place on fire before departing.

          Plus ca change eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Blue Iguanas were here 10,000 of years before your ancestors showed up, and you have no qualms making them extinct, just like the Caimans the islands were named after. Well done you

  6. Anonymous says:

    Requiring dog muzzles for neighbors who can’t or won’t control their dogs would solve both the roaming and noise pollution issues dogs cause in most neighborhoods. Wow, property values go up and CI can be known again for its tranquillity that has been lost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Muzzles for the neighbours or their dogs (or both!)? Again, who is going to police this? Cayman does not have a recognised organisation such as the RSPCA which has Police backing whenever laws have been broken, an animal is classed as dangerous and need removing or the animal is being abused and needs removing from the “owners”. It would be nice to have an organisation such as the RSPCA which worked WITH the Police (and vice versa) then certain requirements would have to become “law” which would be easier to Police – especially with regards to anonymity for whistle-blowing on those owners that are clearly not adhering. I would be completely in support of that, sadly I don’t think it will every happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Muzzles for people? Calm down drama queen, Sounds like a good idea, but how then do we secretly annoy that person at work who we all can’t stand. I mean loaning out noisy dogs to that annoying employees neighbor will be impossible, what’s a scheming coward hiding behind their dogs to do in this case. Please help.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you are not attacking the idea, juts implying that we should accept non action from the government who could not organize or enforce the idea because it’s manifested in a local cultural way of thinking. Yeesh, this island and its property values really have gone to the dogs.

      • Anonymous says:

        At least I can use this inaction to harass expats. Now let me get back to not feeding my dogs and using my house as a doggy day care center where all my friends drop off their dogs. I now have a healthy clientele of 7 dogs barking 24/7 on a rotating basis to pleasure my neighborhood. Those barking mad dogs also protect my drug stash so I guess I am ok with it.. I’m sooo cool.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why change a habit of a lifetime? Some people are very sad, and you I am afraid are one of them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather the CI turn into Jamaica so I dont feel homesick.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s not the dogs fault that he/she is color blind….he/she thought it was a greenie!

  8. cimboco says:

    I believe if they are going to breed and protect the blue iguanas they they should have proper fencing. If they are going to breed and protect dogs then they too should be secured at all time. Also let us keep everything in prospective. Children are going to school without lunch or lunch money !, my vote and assistance goes to the children,

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t have to be mutually exclusive you know!

    • Anon says:

      Good idea – there should be a licensing system put in place so you have to get a license to have either a dog or a child. There should be a test put in place to see if you are a suitable and responsible caretaker, have suitable accommodation and can afford to feed and take care of your animals and children. Anyone who can’t afford to take proper care of their children really should have been more responsible in the first place and waited until they were financially secure to bring another life into this world. Like the owners of wandering dogs – irresponsible parents should receive strict penalties.

      • cimboco says:

        Some parents I know are very responsible but with no jobs they cannot provide for their children properly. . I am stil in the children’s corner and you feel free to take care of the iguanas.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The dog did well finding a blue at the Botanic Gardens since the blues all seem to be locked up and your seem to have to pay even more to get a glimpse of them nowadays.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It was reported on Cayman27 that the dogs had collars… So much for the stray dog theory. Why aren’t there better fences?? I don’t understand why the dogs are allowed in or near.. oh nevermind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why aren’t there better fences at the Park you mean? Well whose dogs are they? Surely the dog owners are the ones who should have the fences to keep THEIR dogs on THEIR property???? Why should the responsibility and expense for fencing be displaced to anyone other than the people who own, and should be responsible for their own pets??

      • Anonymous says:

        Because that would mean change and trying to educate some (where it would no doubt fall on deaf ears) regarding how to look after their animals PROPERLY when this “attitude” of not caring and not being responsible has been the way for a very long time is sadly continuing. It would be a better place if people would act responsibly towards their animals: feed, protect, nurture and make sure they are looked after: sadly too many people could not give a damn and just look at them as possessions rather than living, breathing animals.

  11. Samantha says:

    This is very sad news. Question how is government and D.O.E going to deal with this issue when the ironwood development commenced? I believe the buffer is only 10 yards between the boundaries?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sad that it took so long to get these 5 comments. Had the headline been “dog killed by blue iguana” the dog community would have been all over this demanding the head of the iguana. Sad, but methinks time for a stray dog cull.

    • Anonymous says:

      what do you expect? …just look at the reckless way caymanians breed, raise and treat dogs……and the spineless gov will never do anything about it…..
      just another day in wonderland……zzzzzzzzzzz

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is such unbelievably sad news. Inky was one of the main reasons my family and I went to the Botanical Park, he had such a charismatic presence not to mention was an endangered, protected species. It is an island wide problem where negligent pet owners don’t take responsibility for their animals by either tying their animals up outside all day in the scorching sun or letting them roam free to become someone else’s problem. These owners should be persecuted for negligence and made to pay a hefty fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      yep bring in dog licenses….with a fee of $5k per year for an non-neutered pet…..and $10k fine for being caught with an unlicensed dog….
      problem solved.

      but government have not got the guts to do it….nevermind enforce it…..

      • Anonymous says:

        Good idea in theory but who is going to “police” it? Laws are not enforced NOW let alone licencing.

  14. John Harris says:

    One day the government will do something about the large number of stray dogs roaming the island.

    And perhaps one day, we may even see more people understanding that owning a dog carries certain responsibilities, and that just letting it roam free is unacceptable.

    • The Predictor says:

      Yes, John. One day in the distant future. Maybe when the iguanas sprout wings and act like pterodactyls.

    • Anonymous says:

      As one who has posted many times on CNS about the stray dog problem I would like to give my comments on your post thus: Your first sentence -no, the government will not do a thing. It would upset too many Caymanians, the “owners” (by a big majority) of these dogs. Your second sentence – no, that will not happen either. Too many children are being allowed, unacceptably, to roam free and having children carries “certain responsibilities”. That message has not hit home in very many houses (I won’t call them homes) here so being responsible about a dog -a mere barking, breeding machine- certainly will not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why oh why oh why are the animal control laws not upheld and enforced? I don’t care where you are from: if you own an animal it is YOUR responsibility to care, feed and attend to your animal in a responsible manner which obviously includes not letting it roam free because you are too lazy to walk your dog. If you don’t want the responsibilities which come with a dog then don’t get one – there are too many animals not treated right on this island and it is sad to see not only these animals suffer but those such as Inky – there was NO need for this situation to have happened, and oh, before you start yelping that this dog may be a stray and not “owned” then why aren’t “owners” getting their animals spayed and neutered: the charities offer this procedure for FREE so there is no excuse of “I can’t afford it”. Then you will have those owners with NO brain cells claiming that the reason they have not had their dog “fixed” is because “I want to have puppies and sell them for $1,000 each”. Those people should not be allowed to own animals. I beg government to look into the animal control laws, fine and ban those irresponsible “owners” from owning animals in the future, remove those animals that are being mistreated and rather than throw them into the Dept of Ag only to be given a death sentence, let the charities step in as well as responsible members of the public in order to allow them to rehome these animals that are cared for in the proper way without fear of threats etc. So sad that this had to happen to Inky who no doubt went through immense pain and suffering.

      • Anonymous says:

        The government will never do what you want. One of the biggest breeders is a Caymanian policeman whose female dog is kept tied up 24/7 and breeds every time it comes in heat. By my reckoning it has had about 9 litters. All the puppies are eventually sold. The Government animal trappers (who are all Jamaican) have big legitimate problems but one of these problems should not be one: If you call them to trap, as often as not you find they are church brothers or sisters with the offending “owners” so even if they trap the dog-several times -, it gets given back to the owners for (maybe) the $25 fee. It is this sort of low level “corruption” I think Dufus Legge was trying to exemplify but of course he failed spectacularly.

        • Anonymous says:

          Did the policeman have a trade and business license to be a breeder? No? Who will arrest him then? Alden?

          • Anonymous says:

            Emmmm no one. Par for the course!

          • Anonymous says:

            None of these ‘breeders’ have licenses. They just have dogs who they use to produce puppies they sell to others who just want a barking machine in their yard.

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