600,000 greens culled as breeding season starts

| 09/05/2019 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cullers with a green iguana shot out of a tree

(CNS): As the green iguanas have begun to break cover again over the last few weeks ahead of the annual breeding season, cullers have been capitalising on their amorous activity with a surge in culled numbers. Between them, the iguana hunters have now bagged well over 600,000 since the nationwide initiative began last October. According to the Department of Environment, 601,223 from an original population of more than 1.5 million invasive iguanas have been culled.

Earlier this year the number of greens being culled each week dropped, as finding them became more challenging. But over the last few weeks the drive to find a mate and the increase in temperature has outweighed their new-found caution around humans. As a result, last week cullers dropped off nearly 25,000 carcasses at the landfill, the highest weekly amount since December last year.

DoE officials said that the change in the behaviour of the green iguanas, making them more visible, is encouraging for the overall aim of the cull, which is set to run until the end of this year.

While it will be impossible now to entirely eliminate them, the aim is to reduce the population to a sustainable level where they no longer pose a serious threat to the Cayman Islands flora and fauna.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (40)

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  1. Ron Ebanks says:

    I would bet that this iguana culling goes on until the money runs out, and the iguana population would still be in 500,000 range .

  2. Double G says:

    G Dawg

    My two cents:

    I wrote a letter to Gov 10 years ago suggesting relaxing the air gun/.22 license rules and creating zoned areas with registered cullers as the population would get out of hand. I see the culling as a good exercise but doubt is economic efficiency- it is a large annual $ budget. There must be a more economic way that is as efficient but hopefully more effective. Why not set up a competition with a nice financial prize. Whoever comes up with a better way wins the prize. Caymannews service should get behind this and advertise for free too – good corporate social responsibility!

    Regarding the breeding season: Why not build strategic breeding grounds that attract iguanas to lay. One could sell/destroy the eggs and take out the mature females once they have laid their eggs and avoid repeat laying: reducing the breeding iguana population will make a big difference as they can lay 60-80 eggs a year. Long term this will be more effective- less laying iguanas and at the same time the cullers are in full force all year. Attract the layers into breeding areas ( sand 5 feet deep) and then cull the major egg producers? Works for me

    • Anonymous says:

      You imply that they (CIG, DOE) have brains to come up with something other than “wild chase”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The iguana culling needs to be an indefinite program or they will only come back full force again!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    keep asking…who’s counted 600k iguana carcasees and what is being done with them?

    • Anonymous says:

      You keep asking and it keeps getting answered!! There is a group at the dump who’ve been retained by the DOE to keep count and tallies toward each culler. You can go there and see for yourself and you should.

      As to what is being done with them……. some are being used in a couple of local restaurants, but not nearly enough. As a Sister Islands culler (volunteer, not paid), the smaller green igs are difficult to process for consumption. I know that many, if not most of the green igs taken to the dump are of the medium to smaller/hatchling/yearling size.

      They are quite tasty. If we could spread that awareness, then more of them could be consumed instead of dumped. Often by the time they are presented at the dump, they are far past the safe and sanitary period in which they could be used for meat. I myself will give them no more than two hours after being killed before I consider them unfit to cook and eat.

      • Anonymous says:

        HOW THEY (dead iguanas) ARE DISPOSED OF???? DOE must answer that question with photos and proof that they are disposed of properly. The Dump grounds are a hazardous place. Onlookers should not be wandering there. Access to the Dump must be restricted to authorized personnel only. Or this is not the case?

      • Anonymous says:

        You just nasty, you can do it for free I want my 5$ per one bobo.

    • Anonymous says:

      They literally have a cctv tower over the counting area and it’s visible to the public.

      You all will conspire over anything

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t worry about it, just sit there behind your computer screen and keep your useless comments to yourself.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Need to kill everyone of them, otherwise in a few months they will be back in force, should charge all those people here that come from the same country the greens iguanas come from, for they brought them here.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a very strange statement.

      How about the invasive lionfish? Should we be charging Florida tourists for them? Ridiculous.

      If we can kill the majority of the green iguanas, and keep up the effort, that will suffice. You can look at what has been done on the Sister Islands with the volunteer teams and see that they are keeping the numbers in control overall. I wonder, though………. will there still be people willing to go out and hunt the iguanas when the hunters cannot make a living doing it? Will there be people willing to devote their own time to the culling as is done on the other two islands?

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t the sister island cullers get paid? Based on the answer to that, why are the Grand Cayman Cullen’s paid? Why not another more cost effective way to cull them?

        • Anonymous says:

          The Sister Islands cullers choose — and have chosen for several years — to be a volunteer team. There are not nearly the numbers of green iguanas on the Sister islands as Grand Cayman, however it is clear to most of us that continual effort keeps them under control.

          Some people just want to do good for their island. Simple as that. No slight intended against those in Grand Cayman who cull for a living.

          • Anonymous says:

            Why can’t Grand Cayman find similar? Or put ppl on a govt contract and get paid a monthly salary with commission. That way we aren’t spending insane amounts for $5 a head.

            There are many volunteers willing to kill the lion fish. Which seems to have controlled/diminished numbers. Why not also the iguanas?

            Personally if I was getting $5 a head I would have a small contained iguana farm on my property and just bring in all those small ones that I’m breeding. Does that solve the problem? No but it gives me easy side income without the need to actually search for them. How do we know people aren’t doing that?

    • Anonymous says:

      4:14 everyone is so quick to blame “foreigners “ but locals have to take responsibility to. These green pests were sold through pet shops and purchased by Caymanians also. These pets either escaped or were dumped when they got too big or when their owners couldn’t be bothered to look after them anymore. I remember as a kid that rum point (a local owned d restaurant at the time) had 3 of them in an outdoor cage. They escaped after Ivan. The iguana problem is our problem now and it needs to be dealt with locally. They are established now and will likely never be fully eradicated. But keeping their numbers low through culling reduces their negative impact on our local flora and fauna.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please, please, please kill some wild chickens while you are at it. Why do we wait for a crisis to begin such efforts?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you want to kill the chickens? They aren’t a pest and they control the insect population. When you’re lounging on your lawn, would you rather have a chicken cluck by you or an insect biting your toes?

      • Anonymous says:

        I mean you can argue that their droppings can carry pathogens, but so does ours.

        Wipe your feet and don’t eat off of the ground..

      • Anonymous says:

        They ARE a pest and their feces breeds disease.
        You probably wear your shoes in the house so you’re tracking that sh!t in all over the floor.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because they crow all day and all night long, everywhere

      • Jack says:

        They eat native insects too..

      • Cheese Face says:

        “Why would you want to kill the chickens? They aren’t a pest”

        Disagree about the pest bit of your statement, just this morning I had to brake hard and swerve as 2 roosters were chasing some hens all over the road. Granted some folks would just plow straight into them and not give a ****, but I’d rather not and prefer to avoid them if pos.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cats are a bigger problem

    • Anonymous says:

      I trap the feral chickens and eat them. They are fine eating. Old roosters must be stewed; their meat is nearly purple and somewhat tough. All the rest can be cooked in any manner that is familiar to you. No antibiotics or growth hormones in them.

      Make yourself a simple chicken trap and take a few, kill them humanely, cook and eat them. A fine meal.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not eating something that eats out of my trash.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you eat crab/shrimp? Land crab in particular?

          So just catch them and purge the chickens a few days and then kill them humanely and eat it up!

          • Anonymous says:

            Nope, don’t eat that either. Land crabs should be protected. They aren’t anywhere anymore.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah. You would rather eat something stuffed full of hormones and antibiotics, served with a side of genetically modified veg covered with insecticide.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why is your trash accessible to chickens, wild dogs etc.??

          I’m fairly certain that regular components of your diet are far more nasty that a free-bush chicken. Try them out. You’ll be surprised. They taste really good.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t purge salmonella or botulism bobo.

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