(CNS): Well aware of the devastating impact invasive species can have on indigenous flora and fauna, the Department of Environment will be hosting a workshop next week on how to prevent potential future invasions that may be on the horizon. Conservationists from other British Overseas Territories will join staff from the Cayman Islands DoE to listen to advice from other professionals from the UK and Europe on the work being done around the world in an effort to protect unique habitat from invasive threats.
Cayman knows only too well the massive problems presented by the unwelcome arrival of non-native species, from the threats to our marine environment posed by the pernicious lionfish to the prolific green iguana on land. While those two species are the most talked about here, the Cayman Islands, like other islands, are faced with many other threats from invasive plant species and pests that are attacking the local flora.
Fred Burton, head of the DoE Terrestrial Unit, told CNS that the “Horizon workshop” was about looking ahead at what other dangers are out there that we should know about and try to protect the Cayman Islands from and how best to combat potential future invasions.
He explained that protecting our shores from pests large and small required a coordinated effort between a number of agencies. He said the DoE hopes this workshop will help Cayman and the other BOTs that will be attending come up with ideas about how to coordinate the defences.
Burton said species invasion is a significant and growing problem in the modern world that can be really challenging to deal with, so having some idea of what we could face in the future and how others have dealt with it may prevent a repeat of what has happened with the existing invasions.
As evidenced by the situation with the lionfish, the iguanas and various species of plants, once an invasive species finds a new location to its liking, it can quickly make itself at home and become an unwanted but permanent guest.