One day left for iguana cullers to contact DoE

| 08/08/2018 | 47 Comments
Cayman News Service

Green iguanas

(CNS): Existing or would-be green iguana cullers have just one more day to submit information to the Department of Environment to help them begin a nationwide attack on the prolific pest. With around two million greens creating havoc in the local environment, the DoE is trying to come up with a plan that would create viable business opportunities for interested cullers and prevent the devastating scenario of more than 4.5 million overrunning Grand Cayman by 2020. 

The DoE announced a ‘request for information‘ last week to enable them to gauge the culling capacity on the island and the interest in the commercial opportunity to take on the increasingly overwhelming project.

The deadline for submissions is tomorrow, Thursday, 9 August, and while several people have already approached the DoE, the aim is to offer a chance for everyone who has an interest in the project to get involved.

Previous cull experiments failed to kill enough of the iguanas to turn the tide of the exploding population and send it into decline. With only CI$1.1 million in the budget for this year and around two million greens already on Grand Cayman, the DoE is hoping that the private sector can help them solve this growing challenge. DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that this request is the first step in a process that will lead to a long-term solution.

“We really need an engagement with the community on this to help us tackle the problem,” Ebanks-Petrie said, as she urged people to spread the word and encourage those who think they can help to visit the website now.

See the details of the RFI on the procurement site here

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Comments (47)

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  1. Bodden Towner says:

    I wonder if these iguanas can be attracted by scent like a rat does to a cheese. Then the compound can be sprayed on a poisonous tree that will kill them. The tree can be a man made one.

    Reason why – I bought a spray called “Iguana Off” and read reviews about it. But one review said that it doesnt work. The scent ends up encouraging more iguanas to come.

    So Im thinking if they have strong nasal detector, we can use that to lure them. It will have to take some study to find out just what is their “cheese”

  2. Ferl Cat says:

    To reduce and control the iguana population, introduction of another animal must be introduced on island just as did the green iguanas. For example if government was to introduce all male hawkes or non poisonous snakes, over time these animals would take care of the iguana population and would eventually die off as they will not be able to reproduce. The other option is to support individuals or companies who are trained with hawkes to come in on contracts i.e. 1million iguanas = $1m in 6 -12 months. Only pay what they deliver. Arming the population with B.B. guns is not the answer and even if you did, are these same individuals going into the swamps or will they only shoot what they see? If so, then wouldn’t the iguanas still be able to breed in the swamps, along dyke roads, residential areas, on the beach, etc? A comprehensive approach with long term planning and control is required than a knee jerk reaction. Decisions should be made soon or else, instead of 2million you will have a 4 million iguana problem similar to the wild chicken problem that no one is discussing. Chicken poop is just as sickening as iguana poop.

  3. Farmer's Complaint says:


    I can’t believe from 2014, thats about 4 years ago, our government has been talking about controlling the green iguana population!

    And now whilst these pest multiply by the millions every year, the best they can do now in 2018, is appeal to the private sector??? Like … really! You gotta be kidding me! 

    Our government is soooo slow to act. I won’t be surprise it takes another 4 years for real action to be taken!

    See this below article from 2014. I don’t like to point the finger, but our government knew of the dangers from that time. Someone with vision could have acted promptly:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Iguanas nest under ground, so as soon as dart has finished covering the entire island in concrete there will be no nesting habitat left for them and the problem will be solved! Long live King Dart!

  5. Bertie :B says:

    Skin them , make jackets and sell them to the Trump staff , problem solved !

  6. PurVida says:

    We are a UK Overseas Territory – Why can’t we follow UK law in this instance? – anyone over the age of 18 should be able to purchase an air rifle without a licence. .177 Calibre will do the trick for small to medium-sized iguanas, and will even take out the large ones with good shot placement. Otherwise go for a .22 calibre. Serious hunters might even be able to apply for a licence for a rifle of .17HMR calibre, with highly frangible rounds. These are small but very accurate, high velocity rounds, which are very useful for vermin control; and being highly frangible will break up if you miss the iguana and hit a tree branch instead. If we are responsible enough to drive a car, we should also be considered responsible enough to own and operate an air rifle, ffs.

    • Anonymous says:

      PurVida The only problem with .17HMR is the noise and the cost. The muzzle velocity is over 2000fps so you can’t effectively suppress it and it is expensive – .22LR 40gn sub-sonic would be a better choice.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:10 & 4:13 both .17hmr & .22lr calibres should not be used for iguanas. The air rifle is a much better choice.The standard .22 cal air rifle pellet strikes with around 12-45ft lbs. Whilst a .22lr 40 grain bullet strikes with approximately 80-100 ft lbs and the .17hmr 200-250ft lbs. Big difference!
        An island as small as Cayman is – what if you miss and the bullet travels and injures/kills some innocent person on the other end????????
        Regardless if its subsonic or not .17HMR & .22lr bullets can travel well beyond a mile IF fired on an UPWARD angle. Air rifles are a much better choice for iguanas. They are quiet, cost effective and limited to a certain yardage.

        • PuraVida says:

          I can’t answer for anyone else; I can only answer for myself: I would never shoot at any target without a secure backstop, in case of a miss. That is one of the basic tenets of responsible shooting.

    • Eco says:

      You folk don’t understand. These airguns will have to be designated to a special unit or group. Because if you armed ALL civilians, you will most definitely have to deal with increased crime and ALL police officers will have to be armed!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Two big needs for success. 1) cig sponsored shooting classes for beginners 2) easier import of airguns and pellets once you have been approved and certified that you went through the class.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hahahahaha!!! Sounds just like what they did for the lionfish! I wasted 2 hours of my life sitting through a DOE lionfish culling seminar so I could obtain a license and a pole spear to kill them… 7 years later I’m still waiting on my license and pole spear!

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the use of culling when in public places like the Turtle Center, mission house gov playfields and many other gov areas they breed and use them as tourist attractions these areas need attention first and foremost. These animals gives salmonella disease.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mission House breeds and uses them as attractions? I work for the National Trust. That is complete nonsense, Please explain/justify your comment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This may come across as crude. But according to the recent eso statistics, there are almost 1000 agriculture labourers here, of which 3/4 are on permits. This is all of the gardeners, and landscapers, and the group with the closest regular contact with these animals.

    Would it be too cumbersome to make a pitch to the landscaping firms, to cull at $50 for every 10 heads sent in. The firms can set up whatever compensation they want with the labourers. Let the workers do what they wish with the meat? Do this for a definitive 30 day period, to put a significant dent into to the population, and prevent those looking to raise the iguanas for profit.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Import trained hunting dogs to kill the green iguanas. They can operate in the residential areas legally.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We don’t have nearly enough guns and equally lacking marksmen for the culling. Waste of money on this piss poor plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      This situation is so very disgusting it stinks. When people were trying to tell the DOE to get them out of the Island it was bad for us, no they did not listen they were just pets. Well this is a very serious matter and it is still not being handled properly. I would think they would have a meeting and the men would be supplied with the things they needed.With such grandiose plans, just wondering where all the Carcases will go???

  11. Iggy says:

    The other issue is that you are not allowed to shoot in residential areas. So the iguanas that are located in residential areas will still breed and multiply. I hope the DOE and the RCIPS can come up with a compromise. Back home in England you are allowed to shoot in your backyard with a sub ft lb of 12.

  12. Spirit Man says:

    You know, as much as I want to kill the pest, I still think scientist can experiment and discover some way to genetically prevent them from laying so many eggs.

  13. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    You are spot on. There are air rifles that are powerful enough — some of the higher power .22 calibre air rifles even fit the bill. Sadly, not the low-powered .22 air rifles, and those are what is allowed for the purpose of culling invasive green iguanas. They are better than nothing, but as you say, don’t have the power for much over 25 yards.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m a decent shot and I’m sick of the vermin green iguana. I’d cull for free on my street and surrounding lands but when I enquired about getting an air rifle license the policeman told me I still couldn’t use it within (if I remember right) 400 feet of a road or in a residential area. The noose cant get near them they just jump in the canals. Without volunteers culling on their own time for free any government effort is doomed to failure. I had an air rifle when i was 10 for christ sake., now i need a license at 40… give me a break

    • A says:

      If you shoot to kill an iguana, you need to aim for the head; or else, you just end up injuring the lizard.

      Think of it – not many people can aim for a bulls eye.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And the other problem is that a .22 air rifle isn’t powerful enough for guaranteed kills over anything like a sensible range. I’ve done vermin control where poisons were banned. We used .22LR and shot them in designated baited areas from hides up to 100-150 yards away. I’m not familiar with the habits of iguanas but I’d bet the same tactic works with them. If the rifles are properly suppressed and you pick your targets carefully you don’t even disturb the other animals feeding on the bait and can drop a whole bunch of them one after another.

    • Anonymous says:

      .22 is plenty power. At any rate, anything over 100 yards with a pellet gun is a tough shot because your accuracy suffers greatly at and above that range. Luckily you don’t need to aim that far out for iguanas. Most can be shot at a distance of 100 feet or less. You’re not shooting jackrabbits that bolt at the sight of a human being within 100 yards!

      • Anonymous says:

        10:23 It all depends how many of them you want to kill. .22 pellets won’t kill reliably over 25 yards even with head shots. Most pellets are around 14 grains and you’ll be struggling to reach much over 700fps. On the other hand a sub-sonic 22LR with a 40 grain bullet will very bluntly blow the c*** out of them at ranges up to 100 yards. As for them not running? They may not be as fast as something like a rat but all too often the current cull seems to degenerate into a chase and when you’re trying to shoot something that ain’t smart.

        • Anonymous says:

          4:06 that is when you upgrade from a 14gr pellet to a 18 or even a 20gr! It’s not so much the fps but its the energy that counts! A .22lr is waaaaay to much for iguanas here! That bullet will pass through the lizard and keep on going until it hits something or God forbid someone down the road!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Too little too late! When the farmers were begging the DoE for help and action years ago, they weren’t interested. Now they have waited for it to become an ecological crisis. Typical.

    • a. skilpot says:

      The thing is the DOE weren’t involved. The MLA’s dragged their feet on amending the law to differentiate between the protected ‘blue’ and the invasive ‘green’. And the iguanas fell under Agriculture who didn’t do a thing. NOW the DOE have jurisdiction they are trying – agreed it’s too late, but not the fault of DOE! (By the way I don’t work there, just fed up with uninformed comments)

  17. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Look at this “request for information” above. This is the problem with this effort. The RFI is a plethora of red tape that is using the procurement process as an outline. Anyone reading that would assume that they first have to establish a Culling Company prior to bidding, and with the stated expectation of “6,000 animals culled per day”, who in their right mind is going to step up?

    How many people would I have to hire to meet that goal? Well, the first problem is that it has taken me more than a year to acquire an firearms permit for a .22 calibre air rifle. Second problem is that we are allowed a small amount of pellets. It’s like pulling teeth for a vetted, law-abiding citizen to get the basic tools to help with the culling.

    Sure, night hunts and nooses work, but we need lots of shooters, and right now.

    I think the stated bounty of $5.00/green iguana is way too much. Gee, that might inspire existing culling businesses to maintain the status quo, doncha think? Besides, the stated budget can’t afford it.

    We need to make it MUCH easier for law-abiding citizens to acquire their own air rifles and then they can cull their own iguanas. Let those that can’t be bothered use the established culling companies.

    This problem has grown geometrically and will continue until we have dozens of people helping out, and not doing it for money, but doing it because it needs doing. It’s bad enough that we have to pay $500 (minimum!) for a rifle safe and 106% duty on the air rifles. Even the cheapest rifle ends up $1000 investment. Let’s ease the process, get dozens of people culling their own areas and knock this problem down!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Open a place that can make leather goods from their skin!

  19. Anonymous says:

    First CIG will need to create a framework to support the culling effort.

    #1 – Revise laws/rules around firearms. Any effort to truly tackle this problem will fail without cullers being able to use air rifles. Current firearm licensing process doesn’t really contemplate or support this. Currently you can get a firearm for sport shooting or farming. In all cases you must list exactly where it will be used. At minimum will need to provide for cullers to get an air rifle and recognize it may be used island wide and not just on specific predefined pieces of land. Obviously will require a number of constraints and controls around this, but the culling effort will fail unless cullers are given reasonable access to air rifles.

    #2 – Disposal of dead iguanas should be a government supported and well defined process. Cannot be left to each culler to decide what to do and it is thier liability if what they decide ends up being found problematic.

    #3 – Access to land to cull. There is too much overhead if each culler needs to try to contact every land owner to ask for permission. Even if they get permission from someone, how do they verify they are the actual land owner. Again too much overhead and potential liability here. To REALLY make this easy, pass laws the pre-approved cullers can access any property from Xam to Ypm unless the owner opts out. At minimum, create a centralized portal for landowners to sign-up for culling services on their land and give their approval that CIG stands behind so it isn’t the cullers liability if someone gives permission to land they don’t actually own.

    Far from a complete list, but those will be important tools that will need to be put in place by CIG before any culling has a good chance a really being successful.

    • Anonymous says:

      #4 – can apply #1 and get a gun to shoot the cullers trespassing on my land? How’s that for an ‘opt out?’

  20. Anonymous says:

    Back in the 1950s when I was growing up in the UK the big problem was grey squirrels. The government introduced a bounty system – for every tail handed over you got a shilling or two free shotgun shells and that was later changed to two shillings cash. To be honest it didn’t do much good and the authorities had to resort to poisoning the little beasts but it’s a thought isn’t it? In Florida you’re allowed to grab green iguanas and smash their brains in to kill them so why not do the same here with a cash incentive for all the corpses brought in?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not? Because, in your own example, “To be honest it didn’t do much good”. Learn from others mistakes and don’t repeat them. Bounties don’t work to eradicate pests.

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