More hands needed to keep iguana cull on track

| 22/01/2019 | 41 Comments
Cayman News Service

Green iguana cullers at work

(CNS): The Department of Environment is making another call for more registered green iguana cullers, as the number of the invasive species being killed has begun to decline. The current group of cullers has managed to remove around 350,000 iguanas during the island-wide effort to massively diminish the population and reduce the negative impact they are having on Cayman’s unique natural habitats. And while that is an impressive number, given the starting point of around 1.5 million iguanas, the DoE was hoping that even more would have been removed at this point because breeding season is just around the corner.

Therefore, cullers already on the waiting list and those who would like to give it a go but have not yet registered are being invited to go to the cull management office at the George Town landfill from Thursday to sign-up and help reduce the population before they begin reproducing this spring, which could undermine the culling efforts over the last three months.

Presently there are nearly 350 registered cullers, though 78 of them have never turned in any green iguana carcasses. A smaller group are culling but catching far fewer than the original monthly quota of 400, while most registered cullers are working hard to bring in the numbers. However, this is still not enough.

“We’re serious about this project and want to recruit people who are motivated and who will produce results,” said DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit Manager Fred Burton. “As temperatures have dropped and cullers removed more than 340,000 green iguanas from the population, these lizards are becoming harder to find. We’ll need hard work and dedication to see this through.”

Burton said that he had expected that there would be diminishing returns as it got harder to find the iguanas, but the goal is still to remove around 6,000 per day. While that target was sustained in the first few weeks of the cull, the daily average has fallen considerably.

Burton hopes a second recruitment drive to register more cullers will help bring the culled numbers back up and keep the project on track. He explained that the quota has been dropped to 200 per month to enable cullers to secure their bonuses, but every iguana taken to the landfill is still worth $4.50, even if cullers fail to meet their monthly targets.

The DoE is also starting another population survey of the iguana to ensure that they have the necessary information they need to keep on top of the cull.

This second registration drive will start Thursday, 24 January, outside the George Town Landfill entrance, where culled green iguanas are being counted. The registration process will be overseen by the project manager, Cornwall Consulting.

The week-long registration will continue through Thursday, 31 January, and will be open between 8am and 5:30pm each day, including Saturday, 26 January, but not on Sunday, 27 January, or on Monday, 28 January, which is a public holiday.

Requirements for culler registration remain the same. Participants must provide proof of Caymanian status and must be at least 18 years old. Individuals can register alone or in cull groups. Businesses may also register for the cull, provided their trade and business licence is up to date. The 2018/19 Green Iguana Cull Project is expected to last through the end of this year.

More information about the registration drive and the current green iguana cull statistics can be found on the DoE’s website here.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They should have no quota. People signed up then started pooling catches so they could hit the min limits. Should be no limit and open registration. tons of people were turned away or walked away the first registration because lines were hours long.

  2. Rose says:

    I wonder why the 78 cullers that registered haven’t turned in any iguanas did they just register in order to obtain a gun license or they just couldn’t be bothered to do the work with hunting the iguanas???

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ever wonder why now the pack of dogs are getting a bit more aggressive? Going after people’s pets and next it will be kids. You have taken away their food source. Already there was a problem at Britannia with wild dogs. Be careful with your pets and kids.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cull them next?

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      • Anonymous says:

        How about funding a huge spay a neuter program for the local population? Use the funds to educate and spay and neuter dogs and cats running around without a human walking it on a lead. I am sick of the dogs running around wild!

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        • Al Catraz says:

          “How about funding a huge spay a neuter program for the local population?”

          Hear! Hear!

          I totally agree. Adding in the local population to such a program along with the dogs and cats is a great idea.

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        • Tony Allen says:

          Its one thing to deal with the issues of loose animals but keep in mind that this is local culture and an even more difficult issue to change.

      • Anonymous says:

        The pets and kids?

  4. Anonymous says:

    If they are ‘serious about this project’ bring in 100 air rifles and train 100 shooters to use them and that will speed up the numbers tremendously. People running around with a snare is a waste of time. Time they catch one, ten more hatched out to replace him. Put them on a salary if need be with a monthly minimum kill requirement. Set a monthly minimum amount to kill and if this figure drops prorate the salary. From the figures that they have now this should be easy to determine.

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  5. Jotnar says:

    There are 3 basic issues which DOE need to address if they are to maintain cull levels.

    First, access to private land. Perfectly understandable that landowners are reluctant to let someone they don’t know from Adam on their land with no recourse for damage done. To cut through that there has to be some obligation on the landowners to provide access — in the wider good of the community – but that has to be balanced either by CIG indemnifying them (unlikely) or having a public sector cull team to supplement the private sector, unregulated teams.

    Second – remoteness. They have hot all the iguanas conveniently next to roads or obvious to passers by – there need to be access to deeper bush, and in that regard need to deal with landowners like Dart who have large tracts of land with iguana habitat well off the road. Suggest same solution as above. If you as a large landowner wont allow ad hoc private sector cullers, fine – but you better make private arrangements or allow a CIG cull team in. Cannot provide an iguana refuge that will make the whole plan completely pointless.

    Third – kill method. Grabbing iguanas with a loop on a stick will become impossible as they realise whats going on – and the ones that escape an attempt are not going to hang around a second time. Plus it was never going to be easy with the very small guys, or the very large ones. Air rifles are the obvious answer, but they have to make owning one way easier and cheaper or the available population of cullers will always be very small. So make air rifle ownership more in line with the rest of the world, or again, establish a public sector kill team where the air rifle ownership is not an issue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      the air riffles need massive regulating. I don’t want anyone shot. You know they will get into the hands of the criminally insane and they will be used to robberies all over the island. Not only that, if they are easily available then they will be left out and children will pick them up and then you know what will happen.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Air rifles already have massive regulating. In fact, it is a ridiculous amount of red tape to get through. After a person is vetted, they can expect to spend upward of $3000 for a simple air rifle and safe, and nearly a year AFTER approval of the import licence.

        It SHOULD be well-regulated, that is proper, but the current process is so heavy-handed that only the most persistent of folk will follow through to the bitter end. We MUST make this process more streamlined; still the same amount of vetting, but easing of the insane costs. It’s the only way we’ll ever get these invasive critters under control.

        Did you know that the duty on an air rifle is 106%?

        Your last sentence — very kneejerk reaction. No responsible adult leaves anything out EVER. Law requires each and every air rifle (as well as other firearms) to be stored in a locked safe when not in use.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yes it is knee jerk, cause it happens in the USA, where guns are not regulated, ALL THE TIME. The rest you speak of makes sense for air riffles. That’s all I wanted to bring up, that the regulating needs to be so controlled because we know how quickly things get out of hand here. That’s all.

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          • Anonymous says:

            I gave you a thumbs up, because we have reached common ground. I grew up in the Brac, and I would NEVER have touched my Daddy’s guns. Ever. I knew better. With firearms should come education.

            Currently, those in the Cayman Islands who hold a firearms licence are require to store those firearms in a locked safe. Pretty basic. In order to GET the firearms licence, the local RCIPS firearms officer has to inspect your safe, thus making certain that the thing exists and is properly bolted to the floor or wall from the inside.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh you mean like what’s going on in America right now?.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:26 you are so right , these snears don’t work at all in areas where there are lots of logwood trees , and secondly they needs to go inland . I visited the turtle farm 2 weeks ago and the greens are there like crazy , of course a worker told me when I asked why ain’t they taken out ,is because they closed to the public at 5 then it’s too dark to deal with them ,,bull,,,,close a day and deal with it . No use wasting money if gov gonna keep a hatching batch at turtle farm .

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  6. Anonymous says:

    What about the neighborhoods (signs posted) that do not allow cullers to do their job? You can motor along many canals and see loads of iguanas sitting along boats, seawalls and docks. Wouldn’t take them long to sweep through during a one week period.
    I just wonder what the issue is that they do not want/allow it? Don’t want people in your hood?

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    • Anonymous says:

      8:28… Those signs are posted for a reason. The landowner/s obviously does not want any Tom, Dick & Harry running through their yard without proper permission.
      In my neighborhood one of my neighbors came home to find that the cullers had been there removed the iguanas as well as his avacados and other fruits so yes they did put a large signs up. They also called DOE and got the name of a culler and so they can deal with him directly.
      Unfortunately the bad spoil it for the good.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yep. Found one of them wandering around our yard without any attempt to seek permission. Annoying. If he had simply asked would have said yes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I spoke to a couple of cullers telling them it was only common courtesy to knock on my door before tramping all over my yard without a “hello”. They understood, thanked me, and we parted as friends.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Good luck! Another fiasco.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The creatures are smart. They are hiding. I came accross one recently and he took off so fast as if he knows they are been hunted.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been getting over 1500 iguanas a month!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      One every 9 minutes for 7.5 hours straight for 30 days.

      I guess? But including the driving and searching times.. maybe in the beginning. Not now.

      I can walk near some, but when they see me coming with a stick they bolt off.

      Wish it was easier to get an air rifle here.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    an audit of this scheme is required….very little makes sense…

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  11. Anonymous says:

    how are the iguanas being counted and how are they being disposed of?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    We should cancel the iguana cull because there might be a light rain shower on one of the days that the cullers should really be out culling.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I see what you’re trying to do but your attempt at humor is flat. I suggest you realize that the people who don’t show for work do so when they get paid for sick days.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Someone asked me the other day how do I feel killing iguanas, and I said it feels like four digits every two weeks.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s right. You’re providing a service and making really good money. What’s not to like? Isn’t that the Caymanian dream?

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