Cullers back as green hatchlings emerge

| 04/08/2020 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service
Green iguana hatchlings (Photo courtesy of the DoE)

(CNS): Following the suspension of the green iguana culling programme following the COVID-19 lockdown in March, a limited number of cullers returned to the job in June. But now that restrictions have largely been lifted, 171 officially registered iguana bounty hunters are taking down the invasive species just as the hatchlings begin to emerge, according to the Department of Environment.

The DoE confirmed that so far this year, 94,497 culled iguanas had been registered at the culling station. The total number of iguanas culled since the programme started in October 2018 is now over 1.2 million. While that is a staggering amount, the cull was badly set back by the three-month shutdown because this covered the breeding season for these persistent and pesky lizards.

However, the daily average iguana cull for the last eight weeks has been declining steadily, ranging between 167 and 500, DoE Research Officer Jane Haakonsson reported in the latest edition of the Terrestrial Resources Unit magazine, Flicker. This is because the re-started cull is now being hampered by the weather, mosquito levels and the African dust cloud.

But last month, just as the young begin to hatch, the first batch of these hatchlings came into the culling station, which is being run by Cornwall Consulting at the dump. The emergence of these small, bright green young iguanas should see an increase in cull numbers and get the previously successful programme back on track.

Meanwhile, DoE researchers are now beginning the annual island-wide green iguana survey, which will provide valuable insights into the impact the cull has had and allow the department to plan how to keep the numbers at a long-term manageable level.

Over on Cayman Brac, the DoE managed cull was scheduled to resume this week with the lifting of inter-island travel restrictions. Biosecurity efforts continue as normal in Little Cayman, where the barge is inspected continually by DoE intern Tanja Laaser. Every time the barge docks from either Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac it is inspected for green iguanas or any other stowaway wildlife.

In addition to the iguana update, the latest issue of Flicker has plenty for bird lovers with the story of “Inga” the Anhinga, which was found struggling on Seven Mile Beach, and the first recorded sighting of a live Great Shearwater in the Cayman Islands.

Email for a copy of Flicker #49

Access old issues of Flicker on the DoE website

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have seen a rooster chase baby iguanas, so perhaps they help keep their numbers down.

    About the mosquitoes: How is it that Grand Bahamas does not have mosquitoes?

  2. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    The biggest problem on this island is the vast majority of the uneducated electorate including those who believe that holy jesus, holy allah or holy whatever the scientologists call the cartoon character you meet when you reach level 9 in stupidity, will save us all and we have nothing to worry about.
    Decade after decade voting into power people who have very little knowledge or education on how to run a government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good news. Now when will there be a rooster cull? Or will we need to wait for some crisis to arise, e.g. a flu transmitted by feral chickens?
    If the roosters are culled the chicken number will slowly and steadily decrease due to less breeding.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You dimwits need to stop comparing the unfathomable and tragic Beirut explosion to our dump fires! There is NO comparison, absolutely not one iota.
    Each have NOTHING to do with the other. This teeny spit of sand in the Caribbean has not one inth of issues anywhere else in the entire world. Our issues are fixable, or at least manageable.
    It is our gowernment that needs to get off their lazy donkeys, step away from the trough and GET WITH IT!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? 🤨

      “Sol Petroleum has been fined $200,000 for safety failures that led to a potentially catastrophic fuel tank fire in July last year.”[2017]

      “…July 23 fire was caused by welding work on an in-service diesel tank that was not properly monitored and should not have taken place.”

      “The report from OfReg’s fuels department highlighted several breaches of industry safety standards by Sol and its contractor in carrying out “hot works” on a fuel tank filled with 15,000 barrels (525,000 gallons) of diesel fuel. ”

      THE DUMP.

      “The landfill has methane gas built up in it …and things are moving constantly in there. All you need is a little pocket and a little friction, combustion, and the fire starts. The landfill could be on fire for weeks and we don’t even know until it finds its way to the top. ” [said DEH Director Richard Simms]

      Dump inferno rages for 3rd day…Given the dangers posed to respiratory health some residential areas around the dump were evacuated ..REFRESH YOUR MEMORY with the video in this link

      “..the landfill is a large site and “always a challenge”, he said there are “deep seated fires and pockets of fires that do materialise through the surface”

      …Once this happens and if there are the kinds of winds that Cayman has been experiencing over recent days, there will be a rapid fire spread….”

      “..Simms admitted there is no way of guaranteeing that another fire cannot happen, they can only continue to do what they have been doing, which is “to compact it, put fill on top and compact it some more.”

      The best part, (or the worse?) residents have nowhere to escape.

      • Anonymous says:


        When our dump blows it will blow straight up through the vents like a volcano. But still nothing like 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.
        Your drivel does not compare.

      • Anonymous says:

        Worst case scenario much? Pipe down.

    • Anonymous says:

      But they are not being fixed or being managed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think the Dump is The #1 priority. How fast January Dump and Fuel storage fires are forgotten? Really hot weather is all it would take to create conditions favorable for fires or even explosions.

    Beirut explosion is a gruesome reminder that Cayman’ “hot” spots are being neglected for years.

    This is what is being said about Lebanon, but could it be applied to the Cayman Islands?
    “These people have little concept of quality and safety standard operating procedures. You have to understand their culture….”

    While chicken, iguanas and mosquitos are annoying, The Dump in its current state and the fuels storage in proximity to residential area is a recipe for a large scale disaster.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news. Now what about the mosquitoes??

  7. Anonymous says:

    Please get rid of the #@@$%%@# CHICKENS! They do FAR worse damage!

    They tear thought into your trash, tear up gardens, lawns and plants, defecate on cars from trees, the are noise pollution and screech all hours of the night and day, scratch the pain on cars, they are full of lice and worms.

    Iguanas pale in comparison to the nuisance of these feral PESTS!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with 7:26pm. Everywhere you go on the Island their are about a Dozen Chickens running around the place. We need to cull some of them. Can someone please advise if it’s OK to keep Backyard Chickens? If so, how many are you allowed to keep. DOE need to crack down on these people who raise Chickens in Residential areas in Coops in their Backyard. They have no regard for their neighbour’s. The scent of the Ammonia from the poop and the Flies that gather to have a feast.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:36 let us leave it to the scientists to decide which does more damage in Cayman, Ok? Green iguanas cause far more harm to our native WILDLIFE. They are a risk to our endangered blues due to hybridization and they can pass on a nasty virus that can kill the blue iguana. They scare away nesting birds and in rare instances will eat their eggs. They also eat local fruit and flowers that other animals rely on for food.

      All the problems you mention only affect people. They are annoying inconveniences but they aren’t as big a problem as the greens. Seriously dude chill.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get rid of them yourself and stop complaining.

    • Anonymous says:

      You all complain about everything. Its a caribbean island – there will be animals. The green iguanas are not indigenous and were extremely over populated here so culling them was the right move. Culling meant there were less of them killing chickens or eating their eggs so the result is that there are more chickens again.

      Mosquitos are another problem. The reality is when you live here there will be inconveniences stop being such a snowflake.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Mango bounty was amazing this year. Thanks to the cullers that kept the voracious mango flower eaters at bay.
    Very good!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Id rather the green iguana’s on my property, than those no mannered stinkin’ cullers. Not all are like that but majority are.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My two cats already out there – they love the little critters 🙂

  11. anon says:

    Feral chicken cullers please call 9164163.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What about the Dump? Can it potentially explode? There were a precedent in Mexico several years ago. After reading about the explosion in Beirut, however different, my first thought was about the Cayman Dump and Fuel storage.

    Iguanas, mosquitoes and garbage taking over the territory. The solution must be more sophisticated in 2020.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Go gettem.

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