DoE keeping close eye on cull numbers

| 27/11/2018 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Large green iguana

(CNS): The need to ensure that the cull of invasive green iguanas across Grand Cayman keeps pace with the target is at the forefront of the Department of Environment’s agenda, as the numbers began to drop below the 6,000 daily target last week. For the first time since the cull began at the end of October, the daily rate fell, though the overall total is still on track, with more than 167,000 iguana corpses dropped off at the dump so far. That equates to a dent of more than 10% into the maximum estimated population of the pesky reptile when the cull started one month ago.

The DoE had set an ambitious target of 6,000 iguanas per day, and during the first three weeks cullers massively exceeded that number. However, there was a slight decline last week before things appeared to get back on track again Monday, when 6,763 iguanas were taken to the landfill.

Fred Burton, the director of the DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit, explained that it is still too early to see a pattern in the cull but it is important that the department continues to monitor the cull numbers, look for trends and make any adjustments where needed. Always aware that there would be a decline after the first few weeks, Burton pointed out that the easiest ones to grab have now mostly been taken.

“We have always known that diminishing returns would happen, and we have factored that into the monthly quota targets, but we are hoping that as the cullers hone their skills, that will compensate somewhat,” Burton said.

“It is still early to tell what the long-term trend is going to be, and we have regular steering committee meetings to keep a close eye on things and ‘adaptive management’ is always on the agenda,” he said. “If we need to, we can always reopen culler registration to increase the workforce, and the quotas assigned to each culler can be revised periodically so over-achievers are not held back by their quota limit when others are not getting close to theirs.”

Over the next few cooler months, the iguanas may burrow out of sight more, but when they start looking for mates in the spring, there will be much easier pickings again for cullers, Burton said. Mating season also comes when the drought deciduous trees lose their leaves, making the iguanas even more visible.

“It is possible we will see a resurgence in culling numbers around then, and again when next year’s hatchlings start to emerge in the fall,” he said.

Overall, however, the DoE believes the cull is still going well and the majority of registered cullers are still engaged in the national effort to put an end to the negative impact the invasive green iguanas are having on Cayman’s natural environment.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought that the purpose of the cull was to assist with the Iguana meat company that was recently given approval to operate, after many many legalities and meetings. I do recall various press meetings on the news discussing this initiative. This company must now be upset as most of the Iguana carcasses that appear at the landfill are wasted meat.

    On the other hand, whilst the cull is wonderful and I think the greater community is happy, especially condo owners and tenants as their pools are no longer contaminated from iguanas deficateing, urinating and even having a cool swim in their pools. Iguanas have salmonella on their skin, so I never ventured into any pool where I saw iguanas or their droppings. But back to my point, what is being done about the illegal unlicensed callers? I live in Courtyard Drive and saw a group of school boys riding on their bikes in my neighbourhood. They did not ask for permission to enter any ones premisis, even scaled someone fence to get into their yard, and catch iguanas in their coconut trees. Once the iguanas were caught, each one was viciously swung by its tail and its head smashed into the asphalt on the road. This was repeated multiple times until its head, neck whatever was broken. Is this humane? It was after school, and there were younger children playing that witnessed this scene. How can illegal unlicensed cullers be stopped, especially teenagers who take part as soon as they arrive home from school?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Iguana farm, like turtle farm, then sell meat to world. Thank me later CIG…

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    • Anonymous says:

      turtle farm is a caymanian failure.
      cayman can produce nothing efficently.
      you still import bread, milk, eggs from florida………..zzzzzzzz

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      • Anonymous says:

        Florida bread, milk and eggs are bad examples, numbnut.

        The US Government subsidises their grain, dairy and poultry industries @ $ figures that would make you tighten much too hard on your screw!

      • Anonymous says:

        Importing scum is Caymanians failure. FTFY.

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    • Dr. Brandon A. Bernard says:

      Sell the meat? Gross… nobody eats iguana. Sell the skin tho… do someone say leather industry?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Serious question, why impose individual quota limits on the cullers?! Seems if someone is good let them fill their boots as much as possible.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    8:50am – You’re correct that “the people who go to Court charged with overfishing…. are always Caymanian”. That doesn’t mean that only Caymanians are the culprits – they’re the only ones RCIPS or DoE choose to catch! What about the Filipinos who eat every type of sea-life, on the rocks and under the water, also the Jamaicans who catch every species and size of reef fish? Traditionally Caymanians did not/do not eat small reef fish, periwinkles, limpets, sea urchins and those hard-shell molluscs which stick to the rocks. But where are they now? Can’t see even them anymore.

    It is also true that some folks involved in the dive industry are “raping” the seas for “luxury” foods such as lobster. I see that someone named South Africans, perhaps that because that nationality has taken over the dive industry. .

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    • Dunz says:

      If you know that much hand the names over to the police or are you going to say that the caymanian justice system is totally blind to its citizens.

    • A Nonny Mouse says:

      Maybe South Africans are taking over the dive industry because they are known for their strong work ethic, and they turn up for work every day; rain or shine.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    There are stratas that are looking to get rid of iguanas but don’t know how to contact the cullers. Would be great if the Management Company DoE has appointed could be the contact point and they could make the connection.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess one issue is that technically they are not allowed to go on vacant overgrown property without the permission of the owner………tracking down some of those land owners and getting permission will take quite some time. Not sure how it is envisioned that this will work as the cullers will have to go further and further in the interior of the Island to get the Iguanas.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    easy targets are gone….now for some real work….
    this nonsensical scheme will be luck if it sees xmas….

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The DoE’s overarching priority should be protecting the indigenous marine and land creatures that are being slaughtered or collected by poachers and wildlife smugglers in huge numbers. I understand that there are only five enforcement officers for the entire Cayman Islands and that they rely on one or two ancient boats to patrol the entire country. This is an outrage when so much is being spent on this hopeless cull.
    Someone’s head needs to roll at the DoE for this dereliction of duty to the Cayman Islands and its failure to enforce the NCL appropriately. Who is the head of enforcement, because he/she should be forced to answer to the PAC for their failures?

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is spot on! Enforcement is a complete joke in this country! It is a complete free for all out there! The vast majority of Caymanians do not acknowledge the closed seasons for conch and lobster. We (yes I am Caymanian) are not the only problem though, we have expatriates who wait for the season to open and harvest to the limits every day, which is legal but also not sustainable. The South African community are the worst for this. Those people are destroying lobster stocks in huge numbers!

      We need to get into the schools and educate young children on the importance of conservation to try and break the cycle. We also need to completely BAN expatriates from taking any marine life from the sea. Some may say this is racist but as the expat population continues to grow it simply is not sustainable to allow everyone who lives here to harvest marine life.

      – Caymanian for conservation.

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      • Proud Saffa Marine Conservationist says:

        What a ridiculous comment from an obvious pratt. I am a Saffa, and I practise (and have taught my kids to practise) limiting my catch, rather then catching my limit. Take your anti-South African generalisations and stick them where they will make you walk funny.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Anything you take is too much. Leave our birthrights alone.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So you think it’s sustainable to allow 40k+ expats to harvest marine life from our limited shallow waters? You’re definitely part of the problem and should probably take your saffa family back home… oh wait, you’re not welcome there anymore either.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Considering that only the South Africans in my office are planning to meet up to go diving on Dec 1 for lobsters, maybe this poster is on to something.

      • Anonymous says:

        And yet the people who go to court charged with over-fishing f conch, lobster, turtle etc. are always Caymanian.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    They caught 10 in my yard on Sunday.. this shows there are still plenty of these creatures around

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  10. Anonymous says:

    There are some nice, fat reptilians in the Legislative Assembly, perhaps they would be worth $10?

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  11. Elvis says:

    10% dent in population? Well that’ll teach them won’t it?
    They will soon multiply that back within 2 months ,
    Hmmmmmm, any other ideas how to give away money anyone?

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    • Anonymous says:

      So true. This years batch of hatchlings probably exceed that number by hundreds of thousands with the vast majority being holed up in dense bush or mangrove.

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    • Anonymous says:

      …and that’s why the culling continues. What do you think is going to happen? In two days all the greens will be culled? I guess you failed math during high school. Well, based on Cayman public schools ability to graduate students who can’t read or do math, maybe you did ‘pass’ math.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is true, as its their nature – gosh. Reptilian blood is cold, these “fake toughing” cool humans will never understand.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Keep after it, all cullers, all three islands. Keep after it and get all the buggers that you can for as long as you can and never stop. THAT is the only solution, other than making the process easier for law-abiding vetted citizens to own and use an air rifle. THAT is the real solution, however I doubt we’ll ever see it.

    From what I understand, most licenced owners of air rifles have spent around $2000 when you include the 102% duty on the rifles, the 44% duty on the accessories, and the $750 on the safe. This seems entirely too costly and complex.

    You want the green igs controlled or not? The paid cullers are going to drop out when their daily kills get around 20 per day. Watch and see.

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    • Anonymous says:

      20 iguanas a day is still $100 which amounts to around $2500 per month. That’s way more than minimum wage so I doubt anyone will drop out at that rate.

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      • Jotnar says:

        Really? Callers have to be Caymanian. How many Caymanians do we have flockingvtobdo minimum wage jobs in hospitality, yard work etc? If you won’t take minimum payment age to work behind a bar or in a hotel, seems pretty unlikely you will be prepared to work outdoors in the sun all days wresting through bush and mangrove for the same pay.

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