Cull off target as iguanas set to breed

| 08/03/2019 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service

Fred Burton, manager of the DoE Terrestrial Unit

(CNS): Cullers have exterminated almost 450,000 green iguanas since October, when the nationwide initiative to get the exploding population of pests under control was launched. But the early targets set by the Department of Environment are now falling off just as the summer breeding season approaches. From an estimated 1.5 million greens roaming Grand Cayman at the start of the cull, around a million remain, and these iguanas will be reproducing in the coming months, threatening to undermine the efforts so far unless cullers can pick up the pace.

Fred Burton, the head of the DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit, told members of the National Conservation Council at a recent meeting that as the breeding season begins, the green iguanas will become much more visible again, which should help cullers catch and kill them in greater numbers.

Cayman News Service


Before the project began Burton had warned that cullers would hit the problem of diminishing returns as the greens became much harder to find after the initial surge. The iguana expert, who has highlighted the damage the invasive species is doing to Cayman’s already dwindling natural resources, is hoping that cullers will pick up the pace in the coming weeks to prevent the greens from  reproducing in significant numbers this season, which would see the culled numbers replaced.

But as the adults emerge to attract mates and later when the bright green hatchlings begin running around, the cullers should be able to catch more and increase the daily cull rates towards the target of 6,000 per day following the fall in recent weeks.

See cull updates on the DoE website here

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Poor Fred looks like he is in over his head.

    • Anonymous says:

      Targets might be off , but you are doing a great job. It shows in my garden and on the roads, keep it up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They need to have an open registration. Tons of people are willing to cull, but registration times were short and the lines were insanely long. Make it easy to register and you will get three times as many cullers

    • Anonymous says:

      Just to say ,….I’m happy with the cullers that come to my yard and area ,they have good manners and believe me these guys work hard for their catch .the first ones was easy ,then they have have to go deep in the bush …..just to say keep up the good work guys cause I can grow my pumpkins and sweet potato now …God bless .

    • Anonymous says:

      Registration has been open and ongoing for the past month or so.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A better use of public money would be to hold a contest and offer a $250,000 cash prize for the best trap design and the rest of the budget subsidising their manufacture. Sounds crazy but we’re spending millions already on this Sisyphean task and at least this way property owners would fund part of it and put their own effort in.

    Government can either spend $5 for one iguana or $200 setting up a trap that needs to catch 40 of the little f@#$%rs over its lifetime. Can’t be that hard. This is sustainable, the bounty is not.

    As a property owner I’d happily set up a trap but I’m not wading into the brush.

    This also avoids the issue of local “entrepreneurs” starting secret iguana farms. ?

    As the saying goes, build a better iguana trap and the world will beat a path to your door.

    • Bertie : B says:

      Traps are not the way to go as other animals will get killed in them ,including the blues

  4. Anonymous says:

    And meanwhile……….the Sandbar is anarchy, starfish are disappearing, fish are illegally speared, conch and lobster stolen in huge numbers and our land is being illegally destroyed by greedy developers.
    But hey, at least a bunch wanna be hunters have eaten into money that should be allocated to keeping our precious resources safe.
    I hope there are sanctions for this catastrophic failure, this was always a stupid, political sham

  5. Anonymous says:

    450k is a decent start….that’s if you believe the number.
    asked before…how are they being counted and where are all the carcasses?
    would love to see the person counting 6k of dead iguana everyday…..
    something that might help…double the bounty for female iguanas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like a national secret. photos and videos of how dead iguanas are counted and disposed. CNS? Anyone?

      • Anonymous says:

        drop by the dump any evening and see for yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        The same way we count 20,000 paper ballots within a couple hours of polls closing on election night

        It’s a pretty simple concept
        You get a group of people, who work together to count and record the amount of Iguanas (or votes)
        and the same way

        *it’s crazy I know, but not everything is a conspiracy*

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the lazy mentality has set in.
    The work gets a little harder you have to put some effort in so time to give up.
    Open up the project to all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians don’t want to cull and Immigration aren’t approving work permits, but they’re taking people $$ for work permits!! DOE PLEASE TALK TO IMMIGRATION AND SORT OUT WHY THEY’RE NOT APPROVING WORK PERMITS AFTER NUMEROUS PERSONS PLACE ADDS FOR CAYMANIANS TO CULL BUT NONE ARE INTRESTED IN CULLING!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am a culler and my name and contact details were advertised for people to call if they have a problem with iguanas. I have not received a single call from anyone who is not known to me. People who have undeveloped properties could help by calling us and give us permission to hunt on their properties. We don’t want to be trespassing. This should be a joint effort between the cullers and the general public if the cull is to be successful.

  9. Elvis says:

    What a total waste of money they breed as fast as u kill them lmao free money

    • The Constitutional Critic says:

      And your smart solution is what?
      Do nothing as the islands are overrun?

      A couple million dollars to preserve the natural environment of Cayman when huge wasteful sums are being spent on other areas by the government

      -MLAs giving themselves 5% raises when they already make a princely sum per month, no one says a peep, while wage growth for the average Caymanian worker when inflation is taken into account has barely moved since the 80s
      –A 1.3 million dollar boardwalk, in the news for a week and quickly forgotten
      —Spending thousands of dollars on advertising to convince people to support the port project while they simultaneously claim they have a mandate (and support) from the people already (which is entirely illogical)

      We have all that money to just throw away then we shouldn’t have any issue paying for issues of national importance like pest control
      If there were hundreds of thousands of rats running around Cayman you would be singing a different tune

    • Anonymous says:

      @5:15 – So, do you have a better suggestion or do you just like spewing negativity? Would your suggestion happen to be, do nothing and let them overwhelm the island?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cause i got my iggie farm prepped for the $$$.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Do the the cullers get the same cash for new hatchlings?

    • Anonymous says:

      yes. Iguana is iguana. Keeps it simple. (Big ones eat more & breed more, little ones will grow up to eat more & breed more, so all worth culling.)

  11. Anonymous says:

    air rifles for all and this will go away quicker

  12. Anonymous says:

    Give me an air rifle and I’ll shoot them for free as a hobby. I’m sure there are many others who would do the same. This cull is a monumental waste of money!

    • Anonymous says:

      Therein lies many of our problems – “give”.
      How about apply for a license for that specific purpose, pay the fee if/when granted, buy your own air-rifle, then shoot the pest iguanas as a hobby.

      • Anonymous says:

        Therein lies many of our problems – many Caymanians, especially older generations, have little to no ability to go against the grain and we constantly fight against change.

        The fees are enormous, the cost of the safe is a lot, you need to get inspected randomly, and the whole process is long and tedious.

        Licensed cullers who can present a clean record can check out an air rifle and ammo from 8-5 every day. The iguanas would be gone in a week.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are probably unaware of the extremely high cost of your suggestion: $500 license fee, Minimum $600 for an approved safe, bare bones air rifle with sufficient power for the larger greens $500 (with accessories — the hand pump alone is from $130 – $250). Then there is shipping, and as an extra added bonus, the duty is 106%.

        Figure on $2500 for minimal equipment. I’m fairly certain that’s what many of the posters are alluding to making the process less cumbersome and expensive. Yes, people have to be vetted properly. Very few people have the expendable cash to spend on a hobby and there are likely many folk like the one you responded to who would do a good thing for the island recreationally if it weren’t so costly.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hurray to the Cullers!! They also get better and better. I love seeing them doing their job.
    I always honk and wave!
    Thank you!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Since the1.5 million is an estimate maybe it was a little high. Could be time to raise the $$ bounty.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is there a number the public can call to report greens in their area? I’ve seen kids trying to catch them but with their inexperience, greens hide as soon as they hear the noise, and the cullers walk away empty handed and more greens keep on popping up.

    • Raymond Leloup says:

      Since the Lionfish Population has been drastically reduced due to restaurants putting it on their menus, why not offer Iguannas as “The Other White Meat” on menus. I remember a delicacy in Cayman in Days gone By was Land Crabs & Rice. Not sure if there is sufficient supply to even offer that any longer. Seems to me that would lead to increased harvesting and a better use than simply throwing in the Trash Pile.

      • Anonymous says:

        Raymond Leloup the crabs are becoming extinct because their habitats are being destroyed in the name of progress. Meanwhile government saw, or should have seen, the growing iguana problem and ignored it till it got to be so serious that they throw $9 million at it. No vision, and we are perishing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tikka does this. Ron is awesome!

        How about the people talking about poaching lobster and conch out of season start eating them?

        • Al Catraz says:

          I’m not fond of poachers either, but I don’t think eating them is the answer.

          • Anonymous says:

            Why? You don’t have to! But people do and if it was available like Tukka offers then why not?!

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve read “Alive”. In these trying economic times, you just have do what you gotta do to survive.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ask Tukka where they get their Lionfish from, it ain’t Cayman waters because they are too expensive to catch and process.
          Culling has not depleted Lionfish numbers, they breed at a much faster rate than any cull could keep up with, they are just deeper.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the DOE website, here’s a link to the list of available Green Iguana cullers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who wants to help me start an iguana farm since C.I.G. has money to blow. While we’re at it we’ll sell them a bridge to the Brac.

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