Plans in works to guard blues’ survival

| 01/10/2019 | 13 Comments
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): After reaching an initial goal of releasing 1,000 blue iguanas into the wild last July, saving these iconic animals from the brink of extinction, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands is now working on a plan to safeguard their future survival. The non-profit recently held a workshop to lay the groundwork for its 2020-2025 Species Recovery Plan for the ‘blues’ with over 20 local and international stakeholders and specialists in the field for the first time in ten years.

The release of over a 1,000 blues is only one step towards a much larger goal for the endemic iguana’s long-term survival and co-existence with the rapidly growing population and development around the protected conservation areas.

The Trust workshop was aimed at refining the vision for the Blue Iguana Programme and future protection. The focus was on updating and developing objectives for habitat management, understanding the breeding and dispersal of the wild population and meeting ever-increasing threats to their survival from invasive species and disease.

Luke Harding, Operations Manager of the Blue Iguana Programme, said the Trust was fortunate to be working with international conservationists and those on the ground here in Cayman.

“The workshop was a great opportunity to network, brainstorm, share our experiences and ultimately determine what is best for the livelihood of the Grand Cayman blue iguana and what steps will be essential for a successful Phase II,” he said.

The workshop team had a chance to visit the Trust’s blue iguana release sites — the Trust’s Colliers Wilderness Reserve, the Salina Reserve and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park — and were fortunate to see an adult male blue iguana in the wild.

Officials said that as well as delivering the 2020-2025 Species Recovery Plan, the workshop will lead to an update of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2009 for the blues, which was funded by the Trust using money from its 2018 Darwin Plus Initiative Grant, contributions from the Department of Environment (DoE) and Wildlife Conservation Strategy.

The workshop brought together industry experts from the San Diego Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Institute for Conservation Research, the Fort Worth Zoo and the Conservation Specialist Planning Group. Local partners from the DoE, QEII Botanic Park and Island Veterinary also attended.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What I cannot understand I why keep releasing them into the wild and in one area? For obvious reasons they are endangered as the animals were threatened to extinction by means of humans, stray pets or lack of food. So why are we going to repeat history with the same end results? If one animal gets sick and the disease is contagious, having all of them in one area will not jeopardize the project? Also did all those on the work shop factor in governments initiative to grow the population to 100? More people means more land clearing for homes/apartments.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I want to mate a Green with a Blue!

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Why? That would only lead to breeding the Blues out of existence. This is one of the primary reasons the invasive Greens need to be culled. Our indigenous species need protection from the rapidly-reproducing Greens.

    • Anonymous says:

      What happened to the possible sister island hybrid???? DOE…never heatd an answer on that one….?

  3. Anonymous says:

    who has counted them actually….or is this news to detract from the conflicted chairman of the National Trust who has a chairman that designs projects that the National Trust is trying to protect.

    As development continues like one of the designs of of the chairman’s, there will be no where left for these creatures to live anyways.

    is the money raised actually going to save them, that is the real question to be asked!

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      I can only assume that prior to being released into the wild, the Blues were counted. I mean……… what other scientific methodology would one employ to establish the numbers released?

      No. The real question to be asked is what more can all of us do to help protect a species (Blue Iguanas) that are ONLY found on our island. In all the world. It’s a no-brainer for me. I contribute what I can. I am trying to get on board as a volunteer toward the process.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the folks heading the Blue Iguana Programme have a specific number to reach. As much Beloved as they are I don’t think we need an over-run as we have seen with the greens. Also I understand there was an few incidences where persons were chased by a Blue with menacing attitude. Can anyone confirm if indeed it did happen. If so visitors should be warned or the blues should be enclosed where humans cannot get too close. prevention is better than cure!

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      I don’t know anything about any incident, however common sense should prevail when interacting with a large lizard.

      It is also my understanding that the blues (and native rock iguanas) reproduce at a FAR slower rate than the invasive green iguanas, are not aquatic and rarely aboreal, so their numbers are very unlikely to expand geometrically as with the greens.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:16 people feed the iguanas at the park despite sings un EVERYWHERE saying they shouldn’t. If people get chased by them this is the reason. Please people dont feed the iguanas. The food you are giving them is probably extremely bad for them and causes negative food motivated behaviour. They dont need to be locked up. People just ned to use more common sense.

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