New cullers swell ranks but count off target

| 10/02/2019 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

Large green iguana

(CNS): Another 115 people signed up to take part in the island-wide green iguana cull on Grand Cayman following the latest registration call. but the daily target of around 6,000 being culled is still not being met just a few months after the start of the species’ breeding season. The carcasses of around 400,000 iguanas have now been taken to the counting station at the George Town landfill, which represents a significant dent in the estimated 1.5 million of them when the cull started at the end of October.

However, there is a pressing need to bring the numbers down further before the greens, which are prolific breeders, begin reproducing and possibly replacing all the animals killed.

Last week the average daily cull total was well under 3,000 — around half what the Department of Environment hoped cullers would be catching. But the DoE had always warned that once the cull was underway, the iguanas would get increasingly difficult to find and the ones left would be able to spread into the space created by the cull.

Fred Burton, the head of the DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit who is coordinating the cull, said that despite the increasing challenge it was essential that cullers keep up the pressure. He said that if this project is to reduce the invasive species to a level where they are no longer threatening the island’s native flora and fauna, the cullers cannot be complacent.

But he admitted that the cullers are now working harder for their $5 bounty, and it was those that go into the bush and are “hunting and not just gathering” that were bringing in the numbers.

“The job now requires a lot more skill, a lot more effort and determination,” he said. “We know there are still loads of them in the bush but it is going to take some adventurous souls to finish this job. The work is tough, but it can be quite financially rewarding. Some successful cullers are earning thousands of dollars a day.”

The easy pickings are now over, as the green iguanas have disappeared from road sides and yards, but Burton has maintained throughout the project that it is imperative to keep the cull numbers up because they can lay as many as 70 eggs at a time.

The Green Iguana Cull Project is expected to last through the end of 2019. DoE has set a goal of culling 1.3 million green iguanas by that time.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (27)

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  1. CP says:

    Last breeding season my 2 cats and 1 dog were catching and killing dozens of young iguanas! Just a pity they want to show me there kill !

  2. Anonymous says:

    Could anybody post some pictures of newly-hatched Iguanas, surely most people mistake them for lizards

  3. Anonymous says:

    I read which such nonsense like more guns less iguanas, this statement is laughable. Half the cullers who got air rifles in the first phase are not even partipating anymore, the reason why the DOE opened up the registration again. Without the community participation this project is doomed. Had a lady ran me off her property stating the iguanas are her pets. Well Fred with this mind set, you better start packing as you know there is going to be scapegoat.

    • Anonymous says:

      You shouldn’t have been on, or shooting towards her property in the first place without her permission.

  4. Anonymous says:

    400,000 carcasses means 400,000 dead iguanas. It benefits the environment to be rid of them so that means it also benefits each and every one of us. Going forward is there any other method available to get rid of them? Just wondering??

  5. Misty says:

    Headline for December 2019:

    “Govt. Accepts that Iguana Cull is a Failure”

    ….. Despite paying well over CI$10 million to cullers over the past 13 or 14 months, the DoE says that there are now more green iguanas on Grand Cayman than when the cull began. A spokesman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the cull would have succeeded if only Govt had relaxed its stance on the public’s access to air guns…….

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world, has almost unfettered public access to air guns with almost no negative effect. Ignoring that example, Cayman’s paranoid prohibition on public access to air guns has cost the country millions and won’t solve the problem on an ongoing basis. This is a battle that every householder should be able to participate in, and it could then be won.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi CNS. Not to be pedantic but regarding the part where you wrote, “The corpses of around 400,000 iguanas…”:

    Humans have corpses
    Animals have carcasses
    Insects have carapaces

    CNS: Well spotted! We’ll try not to make that mistake again.

  7. Anonymous says:

    People should be encouraged to spoil their burrows. Get to the eggs before they can hatch. It’s just that there is no way to make a bounty from eggs…

  8. Anonymous says:

    disposal would require a pit 40ftx40ft hole four storey deep…..
    where is this magic pit?

  9. Anonymous says:

    So if 500k of those still out there are female, and they potentially laid 50 hatchlings each, that’s 25 million new iguanas by Christmas.
    Good job everyone.
    Meanwhile, we are losing thousands of conch, lobster and god knows what else because of blind stupidity.

  10. Anonymous says:

    for the avoidance of doubt…. maybe video footage should be posted of the daily counting process.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are multiple CCTVs there. If anyone has doubt, just request the footage.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 7:41 am This has been requested few times. Is there a reason for not posting the footage?
      @8:25 am You seem to be a smart a$$.

  11. Anonymous says:

    They are already producing hatchlings Fred, natures fighting back and she will win.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the DOE can help by posting maps showing where the iguanas are now more concentrated and information on the land owners to assist the cullers in locating them and getting land owners’ permission. Better yet, getting the land owners’ permission to allow cullers to enter properties without having to contact the land owners individually.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait, I thought the point of getting the cullers was the private sector could do all that work better and cheaper than the civil service. If the DoE got to that much trouble they might as well just hire a couple of guys with nooses (or police approved air rifles) and cut out the middle-men.

      • Anonymous says:

        Job applicants would flood the parking lot if you could sign out licensed and audited air rifles and ammo for 9 hours a day.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ease licence requirements for airguns and you’ll exceed the target

  14. Anonymous says:

    I blame Dart.

    • Anonymous says:

      No airguns shooting towards yards and residential areas please. I have only just started using my balcony again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    where are the 400,000 carcasses?…who counted 400,000?
    free tip: double the bounty for females.

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