DoE explains magnitude of green iguana cull to LA

| 18/09/2018 | 94 Comments
Green iguana cull, Cayman News Service

Green iguanas

(CNS): The Department of Environment director spelled out to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday the magnitude of the challenge presented by the number of invasive green iguanas on Grand Cayman ahead of the planned cull. In order to make an impact on the growing population and ensure the cull’s success, cullers will have to kill 6,000 iguanas per day, Gina Ebanks-Petrie told Finance Committee as she sought to add $1.9 million to the 2018 budget to get the project underway. Based on this summer’s survey, researchers now estimate anywhere from 1.1 million to more than 1.5 million iguanas are eating their way through the islands’ flora.

The DoE is currently going through the tender process to find a management company to coordinate the cull and pay the army of local people that will be needed to ensure that the target is met.

Ebanks-Petrie explained to MLAs, who have often been guilty of dismissing the complexities and magnitude of the green iguana cull, just how big a job this is and the danger of not matching the number of iguanas that need to be destroyed to exceed the reproduction rate.

Premier Alden McLaughlin noted during the discussions in Finance Committee that culling this number of iguanas will be “hard, tiring and bloody work”.

The latest survey was completed at the end of August, and while it aims to produce a population estimate, officials said Tuesday that giving an accurate figure for the iguanas is more difficult because their nesting season appears to be getting longer and the margin of error in the survey wider.

But Ebanks-Petrie said the DoE is confident that the target of 6,000 culled animals will, if reached, begin to bring down the population. She admitted, however, that this will be an ambitious target for cullers.

The numbers of iguanas being killed last year by existing culling business in the private sector was around 400,000, which is not enough to keep pace with that rate of reproduction, the director explained to members.

“That’s why government needs to intervene,” Ebanks-Petrie said, as she pointed out that any money invested in this project will be wasted if the targets are not met. She explained that the effectiveness of the cull will be assessed early next year, so the DoE can propose a revised target for 2019 if need be and also identify the level of funding for the cull to continue into 2019.

The DoE hopes that by the end of next year, the green iguana cull will have significantly reduced the population.

Ebanks-Petrie reassured the MLAs that the cull, when it starts, will be open to all Caymanians over the age of 18, who will be required to register and go through a basic review of the rules regarding the process. Importantly, they will also learn the difference between blue iguanas, which are a protected endangered species, and the pesky greens.

The individual cullers will be asked to give an estimate of the number they think they can remove each day so the DoE can keep an eye on both the target and the budget. The extra cash appropriated by Finance Committee was taken from the Environmental Protection Fund.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the request for proposals for the management company to oversee and coordinate the $5 bounty for the cullers is at noon on Thursday 20 September. The DoE then hopes to be able to select the winning bid within a matter of weeks and begin registering cullers in October with a view to getting the cull underway well before then end of next month.

See the discussion in Finance Committee on CIGTV below:

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (94)

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  1. Christian logic says:

    You all are looking at this all wrong. Obviously Godzilla is spawning these creatures from the depths of our ocean. Godzilla is real, prove me wrong, just because you can’t prove he exist doesn’t mean he doesn’t..

  2. Anonymous says:

    Use the prisoners at Northward to eradicate the iguanas. Any prisoner failing to catch less than 100 iguanas per day will not be allowed back into their cell.

  3. Anonymous says:
    These puppies are highly accurate in the hands of the right person and at 175 metres per second, the critters don’t stand a chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s great, I would love to have one. The only problem is that, so far, only a chosen few are allowed to acquire the air rifle that they want. The majority of cullers and vetted citizens are only allowed ONE particular air rifle, and a very underpowered air rifle it is. Check into it and find out the sad truth.

      Yes, we are grateful to have anything that is more powerful than a bb gun, however a 700 fps .22 air rifle with 15 ft/lbs leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Put it this way — when it often takes more than one head shot, the air rifle is underpowered.

    • Anonymous says:

      Err, that’s a three thousand dollar toy

  4. Anonymous says:

    What I want to know is who counts these iguanas?
    If we give him a little extra, will he kill them at the same time?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Consider this – a female green iguana will produce and bury anything up to 70 eggs that then hatch and produce yet more of the little b*****s. If we can find out where they’re nesting part of the problem could be tackled at source.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So, full steam ahead on a “solution” that they already know is likely impossible?! How about using some brain power to come up with a solution that has a chance of being effective?!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Feral chickens are also on the verge of reaching problem proportions. They are much easier to catch and dispose of humanely than iguanas. Can we also start a chicken eradication program too? For those of you feeding them – PLEASE STOP!!!! Stomp on a few eggs every time you see them in the bush.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a person with a dark soul. May you find some light.

    • Anonymous says:

      I prefer the chickens than crawling, biting and stinging small insects honestly.. They’re out there in the grass killing them for me all day and I don’t have to buy pesticide to spray.

      • Anonymous says:

        You know what I hate about nature? Every stinking thing. Dart is right. Plow it all under and pave it as god intended when he invented man. If you can’t think of a good excuse to kill it, have a music festival. That’s a great reason to destroy annoying nature.

  8. ig-bwana says:

    We have been trying to eradicate politicians for decades but now we have more than ever and they eat up all our money.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Eat them! Wtf is wrong with this island. People commenting trying to stick up for these nasty poachers who just got caught because “they just tryna put food on da table”! Eat the iguanas if you’re so hungry! They do it in Honduras.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was a solution for the lion fish so why not the iguanas?!

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a wonderful solution. If only we could get thousands of volunteers out noosing them every night and eating them, we might eventually make a dent in their numbers.

      Want to try? Call the DOE. They will set you up with a culling team. Any amount helps, even if you don’t see the change.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not hungry though. But according to many comments there are millions of starving caymanians.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous and will not work for long. Set out some rat traps if they are a problem at your house.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if someone can do a cartoon of an iguana relaxing in a residential neighbourhood and caption it “they can’t touch me here”.

  12. Anonymous says:

    what do they do in florida or other places with iguana infestation?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I say the NiCE workers should be included in the iguana eradication programme.

    While I am not advocating the cruel killing of iguanas by any means, if they have already been run over by a car, attacked by dogs, or chopped with a machete because they were in someone’s fruit tree eating the blossoms, then there should be a station in each district to drop off dead iguanas and collect the bounty. I would imagine there is some cheap smelly dye somewhere that could be tossed on the carcasses to prevent they from being recycled by some low-life who looks for every opportunity to game the system.

    Surely this would be more worthwhile job for some of those that are hanging around the parking lots of banks and supermarkets begging people for loose change.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I have gotten pretty good with my sling shot (not killing things..) and my Hawaiian sling (killing Lion Fish) And I was always the one to set the rat traps (someone else had to collect it after). So I imagine I could get good with an air rifle or bb gun. I would troll up and down the canals getting the ones that sun themselves on the docks. But I wouldn’t want to have to deal with the carcasses. So that’s not good.. You can’t leave dead iguana bodies around. Gross

  15. Phumpty says:

    CIG need to fund a kickstart project to build an AI iguana culling drone. A few squadrons of these will have ’em dropping like flies. Much safer than pellets flying around. But I still agree that our pellet rifle laws need to be brought inline with UK.

  16. B says:

    The magnitude of the iguana cull is nothing compared to the ignorance of the MLA’s and many of their backers. Hence the problem.

  17. Anon says:

    Can we ship in blow guns and hunting darts here? Are they legal? The lionfish culling competitions are really popular. Why not start something similar for the iguanas. Weekend warriors out helping the enviroment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Blow guns, yes! But only if we also bring in a sustainable number of breeding monkeys. For balance.

  18. Anonymous says:

    6000 per day is 2,190,000 per year….don’t think that quote is correct

    • Anonymous says:

      No Sir, in CIG terms the number of iguanas is infinite, in order to justify huge sums from the budget for jobs that won’t last long, but will make certain voters grateful. Its called CIG maths. Real maths cannot be applied here.

    • Anonymous says:

      working six days a week, minus the public holidays, and a rounding error, its pretty close.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Why not just catch and export them to countries that eat its meat? Or, catch them and start an industry here where the meat is bought and eaten, and the skin used to create “luxury” items like purses, wallets, belts, etc. It seems like a waste to just kill and dispose of the carcasses.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree with 18/9 8:16 pm. I have an air rifle and would gladly cull for free but I am not interested in going into the deep bush to hunt for a variety of reasons. I have killed over 50 iguanas in my yard in less than a month using a noose. It would be significantly more if I could get the ones in my many trees using my air rifle.I have neighbours and friends who keep asking me to come to their house properties to remove the pests but because I don’t have a culling permit I am not allowed to shoot in residential neighborhoods. The cullers will unlikely drive somewhere to remove a few iguanas but people like me, who have air rifles, will gladly do so for free. 50 iguanas not killed today equates to thousands in a few years. A more holistic approach to the problem is required to speed up the process

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      thank you. The more of us there are who say what you did, the more the world will eventually get out. All these other lofty ideas posed by people are wonderful, and I like the creativity, but most of these creative ideas won’t work. You can shoot, or you can noose. Shooting is much more effective.

      Lots of vetted, trained shooters with limited permission to cull would be great. We just might have a chance if there were hundreds.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Make it illegal to kill them and they will be near extinction in no time. (See turtles, Cayman parrot, etc.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Allow simple licensing of standard single shot pump pellet guns. No need for the ones that look like AR-15s and nobody is going to mistake a pump pellet gun for a rifle. Yes it stings if some idiot shoots you, and I acknowledge we have our share of idiots, but the only sustainable Iguana solution is to allow pellet guns. The cull has to be ongoing and the more cullers the better.

  23. Islander says:

    Something has to eat the fruits, eat the produce and mess on your cars! Too much easy life around here and mean people. Everyone is closed fist, unthankful to God, and not sharing to those in need. So the iguanas and lion fish will have to do the job.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Let’s sit back, leave it to god and allow invasive species to flourish unsustainablly and destroy our environment because that’s the sky fairy’s plan.”

      Wanna leave the mosquitoes alone too? Maybe we’re too greedy with our blood.

      I try to tolerate and live in harmony with religious people, but you can’t be serious right now?!

      • Anonymous says:

        Just because someone sounds crazy to you and mentions God, does not mean he doesn’t exist. But I must be speaking to fool who claims CERTAINTY there is no God. So I won’t even bother with your kind.

      • Anonymous says:

        And because of this comment there must be no God?

      • Unison says:

        More than once, you keep posting your comments. You remind me of some lad.

        I figure you can’t tolerate people of faith because you was locked up and pented up somehow by them. But my advise to you, is don’t confuse religious nuts with sound ultimate reality …

        God loves you, and you are worth it. You are not some mere product of evolution and chance.

        Unison 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      You are unemployed right? I think I pass you by the road side. Sorry, I couldn’t stop.

    • Anonymous says:

      This post was written by an Iguana

    • B says:

      Your ignorance is your strong point.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s shocking that Government needs to receive a detailed explanation as to what is at stake here. You would think they all don’t live on the same Island we do. Anyone living here and driving around can see how the green Iguana situation has gotten out of control. In addition, they should be well aware of the negative impact other invasive species in other countries (such as the Burmese Python in Florida) has had.

    Get your head out of the sand and start acting fast!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Legalize air rifles I’ll hunt for sport.

    • Anonymous says:

      I second this!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree! Anyone with a garden can help to reduce their numbers and although they will never be eradicated.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Yes, or at least make the process less expensive and time consuming. It shouldn’t take a year and $2500 to acquire a simple air rifle. Yes, people need to be properly vetted, and yes, there needs to be a training & safety course.

      Ultimately, after all the millions have been spent, and the culling companies are happy, the above will be the solution that finally gets the green iguanas under control. $5 per iguana? WAY too much! We need to create an avenue for law-abiding citizens to take care of the problem ourselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is not such a thing as “hunt for sport” go running or cycling…hunting is murder

      • Anonymous says:

        Wrong! Hunting iguanas in Cayman is not only sport it is ESSENTIAL to the survival of our indigenous species! Did you know that the green iguana not only destroys the plants that our native butterflies and birds need but they also eat the birds eggs! Hunting green iguanas in Cayman should be classed as both sport and conservation!

        Pull your head out of your vegan ass and then maybe you’ll understand!

        • Anonymous says:

          Green Iguanas are protein intolerant and are vegetarian. They will eat protein if unwell or starving, (hardly applicable it would seem) because it can kill them. And if it were true that they eat eggs, which it isn’t, why are there so many chickens, who nest on the ground btw?

          • Anonymous says:

            I saw a large iguana try to eat a baby chick and the mother hen went absolutely ape shit all over it. It was a sight to behold.

          • Anonymous says:

            Bull shit. I have seen a green iguana eat all of the eggs in a banana birds nest and a friend of mine whitnessed one eat a live baby chick. They are omnivores.

            This isn’t CNN so go somewhere else with your fake news and vegan propaganda!

          • Anonymous says:

            My neighbor watched a green iguana steal and eat a very young(downy) Nightingale out of its nest in a Mahogany tree in our yard. Sadly, they are a real threat to our native fauna. Not the fault of the iguanas as they did not ask to be brought here. This is a problem caused by us, but they do need to be dealt with.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s just what we DONT want

  26. Anonymous says:

    if the antiquated pellet gun laws were changed I would gladly cull part time. I was denied my license because I live in a residential area (7MB corridor). The left hand never talks to the right I find. Common sense has to prevail here over old ridiculous laws.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Ha! This is the same DoE which grossly underestimated the green iguana population just a couple years ago- 200,000 island-wide was the number if I recall. As usual, public entities in Cayman are always chasing far behind a problem with solutions instead of addressing problems in the bud!

  28. concerned citizen says:

    Please someone tell those environmentalists that these pests are a big problem, because some of them think they are cute and should be allowed to roam freely. And they don’t think of the impact it has on the farmers especially.

    • Anonymous says:

      A true environmentalist would never think this, an animal rights activist, yes, but not an environmentalist.

  29. Anonymous says:

    6,000 a day???…hahaha…no chance in hell…

  30. StopTheCrime says:

    You might as well pay people to dig holes and refill them since it’s just as effective.

    We need a SMARTER solution. Get Oxitec back here to modify their genes and render them sterile. Or better yet: start a dog-training program at the prison to teach Cayman’s abandoned dogs to hunt iguanas. Lord knows the dogs need a home and there are plenty of them to train.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most dogs instinctively kill iguanas, it training them to climb trees that is the difficult part. My two Cayman mutts will kill any iguana on the ground and even clean up the carcass by eating them.

  31. Al Catraz says:

    This is very simple.

    (a) Build the cruise ship dock.

    (b) Give every visitor a pet iguana as a free gift upon reboarding their ship.

  32. Anonymous says:

    A waste of money. Next year this time they will try and explain and find excuses why they threw away millions of tax payers money. They must all be held accountable!!!

  33. Ron Ebanks says:

    When I hear things like having a private Company run this iguana culling , and more licensed cullers , this just makes me wonder if it is about getting rid of the iguana , or more of business opportunities for someone special . But everyone who they give an air gun license to might not be the best idea , if that person isn’t put through a background check .
    I scared that giving every Tom Dick and Harry a air gun and culling license , we are going to be reading Headlines , iguana culler held me up and robbed me.

    I agree that the invasive pest iguanas needs to be wiped out , but how we go about it is another question, which has to be done very carefully . Is the iguana export Company still alive ? What will be done with these hundreds of iguanas killed daily ? What is going to be the big incentives for one to do it full-time ? Or part time , except for the love to get rid of them .

  34. Kettle Black says:

    Wait a minute, didn’t DOE cause this mess back in 1996 by instructing those Honduran fishermen to turn those caged Honduran iguanas loose?

    Why don’t they explain how this mess happened before they propose a feeble attempt to fix it.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Let’s arm the unemployed – JonJon – 2018.

  36. Anonymous says:

    They need full time cullers for a good reason.

    But some avenue for volunteers needs to be set up. I can’t do it full time but I wouldn’t mind doing it part time for my country.

  37. Anonymous says:

    If i was allowed an air rifle like I had when I was 10 I’d gladly kill hundreds of ’em for free…

  38. Anonymous says:

    true example of you can’t fix stupid

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