Cullers wanted for ‘Operation Green Iguana’

| 11/10/2018 | 89 Comments
Cayman News Service

(L-R) Fred Burton, manager of the DoE Terrestrial Unit; DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, and Deputy Director Tim Austin

(CNS): The nationwide cull to begin the eradication of the invasive green iguana will get underway this month and the Department of Environment is urging all potential cullers to come to the office and register every afternoon next week, starting Monday. The cull is open to all Caymanians over the age of 18 and there will be no limit on the number of people who can register for ‘Operation Green Iguana’, but individuals will each be asked to cull a minimum of 400 animals in the first month to ensure that the project is a success.

Business owners with relevant trade and business licenses can also register and create culling teams.

Fred Burton, the manager of the DoE Terrestrial Unit, who is famous for his work bringing the blue iguana back from the brink of extinction, has been tasked with co-coordinating the eradication of the greens, which is necessary to protect the Cayman Islands unique flora and fauna.

Call 927-8614 to book this ad space

The invasive greens not only pose a threat to the survival of the indigenous blues, they are also eating their way through the islands’ trees, shrubs, plants and flowers, including rare and endangered species, at an alarming rate.

“People who register for the cull must be serious,” Burton said at a press briefing Thursday, announcing the registration and start of the nationwide cull.

He explained that cullers will be asked to estimate how many animals they can cull per month, which must be 400 or more in order for targets to be set. That will allow the DoE to gauge the reality against the expectations and ensure that there is no danger that the number of greens being killed will be less than the potential reproduction rates next breeding season. The DoE will be closely monitoring the culling figures and will adjust quotas after the first month accordingly.

“Nobody has ever done this before and we need to expect the unexpected,” said Burton, noting that the entire project was being carried out on an aggressive timeline. “We are being very ambitious but I have a good feeling that we are going to make a serious impact.”

During two previous pilot culls and the recent request for interest from the commercial sector, the DoE has gathered considerable data and information about how the cull can be managed. Burton said that there is a growing commercial sector already culling and “an immense amount of interest from people wanting to get involved or expand existing businesses, but we are well aware of the problem of diminishing returns”.

The recent summer count has led to an estimate of between 1.1 million and 1.6 million iguanas on Grand Cayman and Burton said the aim is to cull over a million over the next year or so. To do that, it is important that cullers remain committed to the project and maintain quotas, and that the quantity of iguanas being removed is not allowed to drop off.

Burton said the work would get harder as time goes by as the numbers begin to fall, and it will be very important to keep cullers incentivised to reach their targets.

As a result, the immediate cash bounty for each iguana taken to the landfill collection point will be $4.50, paid on a weekly basis. But cullers who reach monthly quotas will be given another 25 cents per iguana in a lump sum for all the animals they exterminated that month.

Then at the end of the year, if they meet the annual target, they will be paid another 25 cents per head for every iguana killed over the twelve months, which could amount to a significant bonus and encourage people to stay on board.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie confirmed that, following the recent tender invitation for the management contract on this project, the department has selected a preferred bidder. The details of the contract are still being negotiated, she said Thursday, and the details will be revealed as soon as it is finalised.

The management company will be responsible for coordinating the cull, managing the disposal, counting the iguanas and paying cullers. It will have an office at the landfill and will supply the data to the DoE on a weekly basis so that the project can be closely monitored.

The goal is to be transparent about the progress of the cull, so the numbers will be released to the public on a weekly basis, the director explained.

The priority now is to ensure that cullers register next week and sign the necessary agreements before the cull officially begins, as no one will be paid for iguanas if they are not registered.

Cullers, who must be at least 18 years old, are asked to attend the DoE’s George Town HQ on North Sound Road between 4:30pm and 7:30pm on Monday through to Friday next week.

Individual cullers must bring photo ID, such as a Caymanian passport or voter ID, to demonstrate they are Caymanian, and those planning to use an air-rifle should also bring their firearms licence. Businesses should bring their trade and business licence and photo ID for the person registering as the culler.

Further instructions about cull training and where to deliver the culled iguanas will be given to cullers by the DoE.

People who want to take part but who do not believe they can reach the minimum quotas or commit to the work full-time will be encouraged to join forces with commercial businesses registered as cullers.

See the cull fact sheet in the CNS Library

No cullers will be paid for bringing in green iguanas prior to the start date of the cull – which has been set for 29 October.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (89)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Funny thing is that there are modern solutions now that do not involve pesticides or guns to stop larger pests, but the people who know how to get it done left or were forced off the island.

    Now you just have generic solutions from suits or unnecessary solutions from hacks.

    Karma is the whole lot of you chasing your tails. Comically Tragic. Nothing will get done that will be effective in the long run. Enjoy your weather.

    -laughing at you from outside the island,
    Karma King

    1
    3
  2. Anonymous says:

    I say we introduce a large predator – how about 2 dozen jaguars?

    Or we could nuke the island from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

    4
    3
  3. Anonymous says:

    A stray pellet will easily make a nice hole in my standing seam roof, or put a serious ding in my car.

    These sorts of things will happen.

    Is there insurance for property damages from the Govenment, as a result of badly placed shots?

    6
    4
  4. Dexter Layman Ebanks says:

    I was just reading all comments

    I am a born Caymanian with 5 – 6 generations to my credit

    There seems to be something missing here

    We’re trying to get rid of these pest – which is a good thing

    This should have been started many years ago ( Better late than never )

    Whose bright idea it was to say ” Caymanians or those holding a Caymanian Passport ”
    are the only ones to catch them

    That is ludicrous when there are so many on a work permit – that would love to make an extra buck

    I say let everyone that want to catch the iguanas do so

    I know there’s a ban on in Honduras that don’t allow anyone to catch any iguanas in Honduras

    Years ago they were running rampant

    Just ask yourself ” WHY ”

    Hondurans know how to catch iguanas

    Why don’t we allow or give an additional work permit to the Hondurans that are legally here
    to do so

    If there seems not to be enough persons Culling these pest – the immigration should allow more Hondurans to come here on a work permit without charging any FEES – it wouldn’t take long before the problem would stop and we would have some form of Control on the iguanas

    I am not saying to let any Tom – Dick or Harry come here without first making sure they can legally be here or otherwise we’ll have a worse problem on our hands than the iguanas are

    Food for Thought

    Dexter

    17
    9
  5. Seeing My Home Go! says:

    ALTERNATIVES

    I hope they are all culled for food, and not to just be disposed of in a bin. I would be very upset if that was the case.

    Instead of having to kill them all, here are some good tips on how to live with them:

    #1. They don’t like the scent of garlic and neem. So if you can make a spray from these two things, they will stay off your fruit tree.

    #2. You can install sheet-metal cylinders approximately 18 inches from the base of trees to prevent iguanas from climbing.

    #3. Make reflective wind chimes and hang them in your fruit trees. They hate the glitter and the sound. Hanging CD reflectors on your trees can be effective too.

    #4. Protect your plants with cages or screen enclosures.

    #6. Border your garden or yard with certain trees – Iguanas hate trees like citrus, oleander, pigeon plum, milkweed…

    #7. You can support more conservation programs of preserving nature. Like STOP CUTTING DOWN TREES! If the iguanas can’t find a forestry home, they will end up on our properties. Simple as that. The same with birds on power lines. One night I passed by Hurleys supermarket to see a tree full of black birds in the parking lot sleeping. Why out of all places they choose the parking lot?

    But I realized long before Hurleys that zone had many trees and bush, and we just keep cutting down the trees. Across the road from Hurleys, you have alot of cleared land. I would hate to see the management of Hurkey’s say they are a pest, and run them away because they sleep there every night. This is at the Hurley’s parking lot. So, we need to do better when it comes to our ecosystem. We keep destroying it, we will end up with a country with no wildlife.

    I hope these tips help. I kindof like the reflective wind chime idea 😉

    **By the way, in the U.S., Florida, as with all wildlife, iguanas are protected by anticruelty laws, and inhumane treatment of them is punishable by law.

    4
    17
    • Anonymous says:

      Hello 6 39
      The iguanas need to go.
      They need to be shot and buried or eaten. They are an invasive species.
      Cayman is not Florida ok? Get over it. They are eating their way through the vegetation. Do you understand that you can kiss your mangoes or any other fruit good night. You will get no fruit or veggies in your garden. They are not going to get my guava tree. I will get them first. End of story. Thank you CIG for working for a plan to get rid of these pests!

      6
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      6:39 you sound like a big liberal. We are not going to make a spray of neem and garlic! We are making a spray of bullets.
      Do you not understand how badly they need to go. Guess you pity mosquitoes also? You are a nut case that needs to move over and let others handle the problem.

      7
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      I am a back yard farmer and I plant my crops to supplement my household for the primary reasons to eat healthier and to cut my grocery shopping in half. I work 8 to 8 each work week and have only weekends to plant, cultivate, fertilize, water and harvest. Nothing is more damning than a thief stealing your crop but an iguana doesn’t steal the fruit, they eat the leaves and the blossoms and you don’t even get a fruit or vegetable. All the products mentioned above I’ve tried and they were useless against these reptiles. I agree we are clearing vegetation quicker than there is land on this island and as long as the almighty dollar is dangling in front of land owners, development is inevitable and this will now force these creatures into residential areas and to farm lands. Unfortunately, these pests will have to go or we will always be dependant on imported foods.

    • Jg says:

      FOOD?! And were also not in Kansas anymore dorothy. Iguanas are not native to this island and are demolishing everything. Did you know they dont eat just vegetation? They go into birds nests and eat the eggs and is causing a decline in bird species. Ive personally threw a piece of wendys burger at one and he happinly ate it without barely chewing it. We need to get rid of them asap. Sometimes I like to see the huge ones in trees looking all “natural” but at the end of the day he or she is gonna sh*t on you and this island.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who are the auditors of this program? I have heard nothing that convinces me this plan will work and tax payers money is being put to good use. Let’s see how this one plays out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we just take care of them the same way we did the Blue Iguana/Nassau Grouper/turtles/conch, caimans, etc. These tried and tested methods should get rid of them in no time

  8. Anonymous says:

    So just to be clear. I’ll do it for free but I’m not allowed to on account of having the wrong passport. Genius idea.

    24
    3
    • Anonymous says:

      I just hope someone is allowed on the field east of john gray ,gotta be at least a good thousand there on a good sunny day from 9:30 .

    • Sarah burton says:

      There’s absolutely nothing stopping you for killing them for free. As a species they have no legal protection so go for it. If you’re talking huge numbers, contact doe to arrange for disposal.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Fred is seen sporting the new line in green iguana headwear for his latest project.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fred, look out, he’s behind you.

    6
    1
  11. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, poachers are destroying reserves of marine life and killing wild turtles, the Sandbar is open anarchy and there’s no one to enforce the law. And no one seems to care.
    Priorities people.
    It’s agreed the green iguana is a pest and needs controlling, but spending huge sums of public money on a futile exercise in inevitable savagery and greed is not the way forward. We need environmental protection for our tourism sector, which in time will pay bigger dividends nationally than keeping a bunch of hopeless individuals in booze money. You just know that after the first pay check it’ll be no work and in the bar until it’s all gone.
    This was a matter that should have been handed to professional pest control services who would destroy nests and animals in a humane and sustainable manner. And it should have been done much sooner than these past failed projects. If that needed to be funded by the tax payer, so be it, we do the same for mosquitoes after all. And like mosquitoes, the green iguana will never be totally eradicated, only controlled and to believe otherwise is naive to say the least. In fact it could promote an explosion of breeding and make matters far worse if an overwhelming cull is not successful.
    But to have a bunch of free roaming cowboys beating and chopping animals to death in some kind of government sponsored blood lust speaks volumes about where we are going as a civilised country. I’ll tell you this, none of these idiots are coming on my land with guns, sticks or machetes.
    But we shouldn’t be surprised as cruelty to animals is seemingly part of the Cayman tradition. Need proof, just go to many local back yards, the turtle centre, the humane society or even the Sandbar where abuse of stingrays is a daily occurance.

    9
    23
  12. Anonymous says:

    who made you god to say…i’ll take your life from you???

    1
    9
  13. Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s about darn time they started this project after 15 years and a million plus iguanas.
    I’d be curious to know if they are going to have the firearms law laxed for the cullers that have air rifles as the current law states that weapons must not be discharged within 40 yards from any public road, property or any area deemed residential. Is DOE going to collaborate with the RCIPS on this?
    As we all know these reptiles are smart, highly adaptable and experts at hiding in the treetops and once the “pressure” hits them they will move to areas where they feel safe – either deep into the central mangrove wetlands or to the residential areas. As it is now most culling is happening in/around the residential areas.

    12
  14. Anonymous says:

    why are we not doing this in the early part of the year? before they have reproduce? how they plan on getting all the small ones? got to be a real good shot with that air riffle for them! seems not bright planning on their part!

    7
    1
  15. Anonymous says:

    Who is this “Cullers” fellow and why is he wanted? Did he rob a bank?
    Is he behind “Operation Green Iguana”.
    The bastard. I knew he could not be trusted.

    8
    3
  16. The Hedgehog says:

    That is a cracking Operational name they have assigned. Their best and brightest must have worked for days on it.

    8
    1
  17. Anonymous says:

    Can’t you just find their eggs and go about eradicating them that way? Or better yet start a factory where you can get the meat to sell and the skin to make leather goods. Why just kill them and throw their bodies in the dump? I don’t want to see them all over my plants and trees but I also don’t like the thought of some amatures just injuring them so they suffer and then die. How horrible.

    Now you say, bring in air riffles. Honest question… won’t those be used in robberies if they are lax on those? Don’t underestimate the criminals.

    11
    22
    • Anonymous says:

      People like you is why nothing productive that is against the grain can get done in these islands.

      21
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        Haha surrrreeee. People like me trying to use all of the iguana instead of waste it because the negligence of the government back when they were warned it needed to be dealt with or else. Well, this is or else and now you want air riffles floating around the community where cops already can’t get a handle on all the criminals?

        Hondurans eat the meat, why not profit off it and start eating it here and selling it to Central American countries? Get outta your box, it’s people like you with no ideas to make a situation helpful to people instead of just bashing the brains in out of these living creatures.

        4
        10
    • Anonymous says:

      These green iguanas are nothing but nuisances and I don’t know understand why anyone would waste their sympathy on them. The are making a havoc of backyards fruits and veggies. Save your sympathies for some other creature- everyone should eradicated ASAP.

      11
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      b) Nothing is stopping someone setting up a skinning or other commercial harvest operation. But no one has done it yet. (Except Spinion trying to get some meat harvesting & sale going.) While CIG has been doing the trial culls for a couple of years with the clear intent of figuring out the cheapest way to kill the green iguanas. So they could do it your way, and waste more money, or do it as cheaply as possible. I vote for cheap (but effective).

      c) It says bring in your air rifle licence. So these are the people the police have already licenced. From complaints elsewhere the licencing for air rifles hasn’t been eased yet, so no worries there. (Besides it would be easier and not much less effective to just get a fake gun than use an air rifle, if you were a criminal.)

      a) The animals hide their eggs so they are harder to find than the animals themselves. Yes, in some places, e.g., big piles of marl, there can be a lot of eggs. But even in those areas just taking the eggs leaves lots of iguanas to keep being pests and reproducing so its much faster to kill the adults once than kill the eggs year after year after year.

      6
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      You think the kind of losers robbing places with handguns are going to start using air rifles? Get a grip. Whilst dangerous they aren’t exactly scary. Not quite the tragic gangster image these clowns seems to like. Besides no one is saying bring them in uncontrolled… just allow their use in residential areas so responsible home owners could cull on their own land.

  18. Anonymous says:

    10 per hour = $45 per hour (less whatever expenses incurred). Should eradicate any unemployment amongst the willing & able.

    18
    1
    • Anonymous says:

      We need to make the process simple. Locate 3 or 4 cashiers throughout the island to pay anyone that delivers the iguana head only. Pay people on the spot and forget about the methodology of killing the pests. Next you’ll hear that they want you to strap them on a gurney and inject them with cyanide.

      6
      5
      • Anonymous says:

        Personally I plan to ride on the back of my elephant and shoot them with a machine gun in one hand, G&T in the other.

  19. Anonymous says:

    thou shall not kill!

    3
    28
  20. Anonymous says:

    Expect the unexpected he says. Ok. I expect people to start catching pregnant iguanas next season and keeping them until they have hundreds of babies to hand in.

    20
    5
  21. Anonymous says:

    I’d gladly cull for free but I’m not allowed to use an air rifle as my house is too close to a public road. I wonder how much money will be wasted on this utterly futile effort before they give up?

    13
    3
  22. Anonymous says:

    I would gladly love to volunteer, but can’t commit to culling 400 iguanas a month. Why not allow part-time people to do it for $1 or 2? You’d increase kill rates and save money.

    I could probably do max 100 on the weekends, but won’t bother volunteering my time doing it for nothing if people can get $4.50 a head.

    CNS: As stated in the article, the DoE is encouraging smaller cullers to team up with those who register so they can still take part. As explained over and over in the report, this cull can only work if the numbers remain high and it is managed well.

    7
    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry CNS, I didn’t take the time to thoroughly read the entirety of it and skipped the last few lines.

      I just called DOE for advice on finding a group and they said to show up next week to the meeting(s) next week to see who is registering and find a group.

  23. Anonymous says:

    ‘Those planning to use an air-rifle should also bring their firearms licence.’ What are those not planning to use an air-rifle going to use? Clubs, machetes, spears and catapults? I know in Florida the preferred way to kill green iguanas is by bashing their skulls in against a solid object but making the target of 400 in a month that way is going to be pretty hard work.

    8
    2
    • Anonymous says:

      As a Floridian, you dont know crap. The preferred way is using a glock. They are even using moded guns for lion-fish now. You wanna act like your some genius now island lover?

      https://youtu.be/6lG-snJZIV8

      6
      13
      • Live Free.... says:

        You don’t need a Glock Gun to kill an Iguana, all you need is a stick and one wack to the head of the Iguana, that simple I have seen it being done many times.
        The problem with this generation everything has to be a Gun, and that’s stupid choice for a simple iquana or a fish, what is this world coming to.

        Live Free….

        8
        4
      • Anonymous says:

        Really genius! What range can you hit an iguana at with a hand gun? Muppet.

        4
        1
        • Anonymous says:

          Well annie oakley, enough range so killing off many at once before you need to reload is not an issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:39 You clearly don’t recognise sarcasm when you see do you? Personally, I’d favour a heavy barrel 22-250 – that’ll splatter the little buggers nicely.

        PS. You spell it ‘you’re’ nor ‘your’ and ‘modded’ not ‘moded’. LOL, Florida state education at its best!

        3
        2
    • Anonymous says:

      I use my F350

      11
    • Anonymous says:

      And you cant legally use an air rifle within 400ft of a road so this whole exercise is a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      Barring an air rifle, the preferred and most effective method of catching green iguanas is to use a noose — an extendable pole with a loop of wire, fine cable, or monofilament. They are then easily and humanely killed with a blade to the brain.

      1
      1
  24. Anonymous says:

    Why is the cull being restricted to Caymanians? There’s no similar limitation on the Lion Fish cull, in fact that’s effectively being organised and undertaken by ex-pats.

    24
    7
    • Anonymous says:

      A caymanians great great great grandfather once at a breadfruit kitchen dance decreed that only caymanian can kill lion-fish, and so it came to be that JayHondCaymanains would sustain their authentic culture.

      Its tru because I red it in a buk.

      4
      8
    • Anonymous says:

      Expats preserve the marine environment and locals rape it.

      19
      12
    • Anonymous says:

      Because CIG isn’t paying, i.e., employing, people to shoot lionfish. Basically this is CIG hiring a bunch of people to work for them. That’s a work permit, i.e., Caymanians and Trade & Business Licence issue. So if you want a job hunting green iguanas … get with the programme.

      2
      1
  25. Anonymous says:

    This is crazy. Pay everyone a certain little fee to kill every iguana in sight!!! Typical rules and regulations. Just get it started yesterday for Pete’s sake!!!
    This should have been started long ago but no. Now you are over run with the blasted vermin. Good luck getting rid of these now.

    14
    2
  26. Yard man says:

    I had a bad experience with a baby iguanas. One day I ran several of them out of my fruit tree, and I hit one on his back with a stick. I didn’t mean to kill him. Just run him out of the tree. And he fell to the ground and was rolling over in pain. I must have injured his spinal.

    The other day I woke up from my bed with severe lower pain. I kid you not, it lasted for a week.

    Call me superstitious, God must have sent them here for a reason. I’m not touching one of those things again!

    3
    34
    • Live Free.... says:

      Yard man, those iquanas are pest and they destroying our trees, grass, flowers and list goes on, you did a good thing killing that one, you didn’t injured it spinal you must have hit it’s head, their skull is easy to crack, especially the young ones, it’s legal to kill green iquanas, but not the blue iquanas.

      Live Free….

      8
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      God did not send them, He allowed them.
      Trust me if God sent shit you would be crying and wailing.
      These were sent by the devil, created in a laboratory by wicked people.
      Grab one of these bastards and check the dna strands. It will be like nothing you have seen before.
      Same as the lionfish, same as the skitters.
      Forget it, just stay asleep.

      1
      2
  27. Anonymous says:

    sounds great to start but as when there are less they will be harder and harder to catch, easy cash for the first few months though.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Whose the management company this should be good????

  29. Anonymous says:

    Excellent opportunity for work for the unemployed men!! ????

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cats and Dogs have eaten many of the beautiful and smaller coloured vibrant lizards on the island. Didn’t a dog attack one of the oldest blue iguanas. Would be better to get the pet population under control. Tourists like seeing iguannas of all types, colors and sizes. They are authentic to this area of the world.

    This is stupid if we are only doing this because farmers and gardeners cant cope using 18th century farming and gardening technology.

    3
    35
    • Live Free.... says:

      Anonymous 9:47, What!!! You think it’s good to have 1.6 million green iquanas on the island? Island with more green iquanas than people and vehicles on the road, horrible, something has to be done about it. They are not only doing it because of farmers and gardeners, they are doing it to protect the eco-system (Trees, Plants, and grass). I have seen them kill to many Trees and it time to do something about it.

      Live Free….

      15
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      The green iguanas are not indigenous to the island they were imported, and have now taken over, and I believe at one time were held to blame for the decline of the indigenous blue iguana. It’s like your house being taken over by rats. They need to be eradicated.

      6
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      The green iguanas are invasive — they aren’t indigenous to the Cayman Islands. They ruin the habitat of native Rock and Blue iguanas. They also eat native bird eggs, as well as nearly anything that people attempt to grow.

      They reproduce faster than native iguanas and their numbers are increasing geometrically. They are cute, yes, and it’s not their fault, however they are a plague that must be controlled. I doubt we will ever eradicate them, given that shipping containers arrive here from Florida.

      The green iguanas can swim and are excellent at camouflage, evasion and are quite fleet during the day. It is not just the farmers and gardeners that are being affected; green iguanas spread to the detriment of our native birds and iguanas, as well as all of us.

    • Anon says:

      947 stop being a moron. Do you like fruit likr mangoes? Good luck getting any next year you moron.
      The greens are invasive and need culling!! Go out and start killing them!!!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Yes but exactly how you expect me to do so? Sticks and stones? Help me help us cull.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need to relax our absurd air rifle laws for law abiding home owners! I had one when I was 9 for heaven’s sake.

      11
      6
    • Live Free.... says:

      Anonymous 8:50 Simply move slowly behind an Iquana, slowly lift the stick and wack it in the head. It’s not hard to kill them, you can also use a rock but the iquana must be very relaxed in the sun for that method to work

      Live Free….

      1
      2
      • Anonymous says:

        Ours bask on our dock wall. Dozens of them. Your method used to work but they are not stupid. Can’t get within 30ft of them before they jump now.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The plan, incentives, sounds great!

    18
    7

You can comment anonymously. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.