Gardeners asked to help feed the ‘blues’

| 13/07/2021 | 18 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): A change in landscape and development pressures have led to the loss of more than half of the wild spaces that used to provide food for the animals at the breeding centre, according to Blue Iguana Conservation, a National Trust for the Cayman Islands programme. As a result, a new initiative is being launched to ask local gardeners to grow the indigenous and native plants that the iguanas eat so that BIC has supplementary sources of food around the island.

Plants identified as food suitable for blue iguanas may already exist in some gardens or on raw land, but gardeners all over the island are now being encouraged to grow native plants to provide food sources and collection location for the iconic blues as well as helping to protect the endangered flora of Cayman and support other local wildlife.

BIC Operations Manager Luke Harding said that supporting blue iguana conversation was not the sole task of BIC but a responsibility for everyone.

“The only way that we achieve long term sustainability is to work as a collective,” he said in a press release. “This exciting initiative allows everyone to be involved and make a difference from local businesses, schools, landowners, right up to an individual with a balcony and a flowerpot. It’s a community effort.”

He explained that the driving force was the loss of habitat and food sources for the blues. “Sadly, we have lost nineteen out of thirty-two identified food sites due to change in landscape and development pressures. The loss of these wild spaces impacts not only blue iguana food collection sources, but also habitats and food sources for butterflies, birds, insects and other native wildlife that are dependent on these environmental areas,” Harding said.

Cayman News Service
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By empowering the general public to become involved in growing food plants t,he pressure on wild food collection sites will be eased and those involved will also become better engaged with this incredible species that is not found anywhere else in the world. It will also help restore and protect native plant species and wild habitats for the overall benefit of the environment.

Creating a Blue Iguana Garden will not mean that you will have blue iguanas there or even encourage the invasive greens but it will ensure a stock of food for these animals and contribute to the rewilding of some areas to protect the dwindling natural habitat.

“This initiative goes far beyond feeding iguanas; it is a way to help encourage engagement with the environment on all levels,” Harding added. “It increases the immersion for people into Cayman’s natural beauty and the understanding of the island fauna and flora for all ages.”

Individuals, families, schools, local businesses and developers can sign up and identify areas within private land and gardens to grow and maintain supplemental food sources for the blues at the conservation breeding facility. The blues are known to eat more than 100 local species of flowers and plants, and the programme has published a list of the most common ones that they want to encourage people to grow (see above).

Iguanas like flowers and fruits as well as leaves so there are many beautiful plants that people can grow to help feed them while attracting bees, birds, butterflies and more to their gardens, most of which require little more than the right space to flourish.

Anyone interested in joining the Blue Iguana Garden initiative can find more information and sign up online here.

Potential growers can also contact bic@nationaltrust.org.ky for more details on how to become involved in this programme or to make a donation in support of Blue Iguana Conservation.


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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i feed greens and blues…i am not racist.
    #greenlivesmatter

  2. Anonymous says:

    We also need programs to help Generational Caymanians to stop overdevelopment, overtourism, overpopulation and overcorruption.

    Will the PACT government get VOCAL PUBLIC support to be able to execute those programs?

    If you truly love the Cayman Islands then now is the time to stand up against those persons stealing our children’s future.

  3. Anonymous says:

    With development and greed (and a whole lot of corruption) soon the only blues left will be behind cages. Yet, the story lines will remain the same: Anyone not Caymanian is a jerk, the government is always corrupt and clueless, money is privilege, the education system is a bust, the island truly is a rock with little edge sand left, sustainable fish volumes are long gone, the ocean is the largest trash can, family values can be learnt about only in history books, and this is a gun-free island that takes illicit drugs serious.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Count me and my family in! Our family home already has a few on that list already established a flourishing (bougainvillea, hibiscus, and Noni’s (Indian mulberry – Iguana-nip).

    One question for BIC: Would you be willing to help people source cuttings/seeds/seedlings to help further this? It can take some time to establish some of these plants so if there are seedlings available for keen gardeners that would definitely help.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what I came to say too! The Facebook page (cayman creative gardening club) could be a good place to offer this to.

      • Esly from CCGC here

        We are working to get a lot of these plants in our projects, We have choose with the plants that the iguanas eat *whole plant.

        We are planting 8 moringa trees at ICCI on this weekend and as they grow, we will be able to donate all the cutting and so on, We are trying do our best to help the blue iguanas but it will take lil time for the plants to grow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A pity the BIC did not assist with the refusal of the mental facility to be constructed on prime farm land. Absolutely no foresight by our government, the national trust or the BIC.

    • Anonymous says:

      what does that have to do with this initiative? absolutely nothing. Plus if the land where the facility is going to be was used for farming it sure as hell wouldn’t be for farming food for iguanas. Pick your battles sheesh..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great initiative. Could we please have a similar list and effort for parrots?

    • Anonymous says:

      FFS please don’t do anything to increase the parrot population

      The few farmers that we have left are suffering in silence as they watch their revenues disappear due to this intensely destructive bird.

      • Anonymous says:

        The parrots have every right to be here. They were here first after all! They wouldn’t be eating your precious crops if their natural feeding habitat wasn’t being destroyed left, right and center. Get a grip!

        • Anonymous says:

          Certainly the parrot food chain is not being destroyed by farmers – FFS they are the very persons that are paying hard earned currency to put the fruiting trees back!

          The very trees that were partly destroyed by building your office, house and kids playground.

          Get a grip Elmer there is a much bigger picture here.

          Why should the farmers have to pay for all of the rest of unna wasters?

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry, but fruit trees are definitely not native to Cayman.
            Our flora is so much more than just foreign fruit trees. It is genuinely unique, and needs to be protected further.

            • Anonymous says:

              If we were to follow your line of stupidity then just about all flora and fauna is not from Cayman

              Cayman sits on top of undersea mountain peaks and certainly there was nothing there when these islands were formed – including the Cayman Parrot, you and all other threatened “ Cayman” species.

              But my mummy always told me not to argue with drunks, little children and idiots.

              Still I rise.

    • Anonymous says:

      A small(and by no means comprehensive as I am not knowledgeable in this-just my observations) list of trees they enjoy, based on what they eat in my garden. Many are native trees, I have very few fruit trees, and have parrots daily in the garden pretty much year-round.

      Birch-they adore these
      Seagrape-they also love these
      Mahogany-the ripe pods are popular just as they start to split at the height of the dry season
      Parrot Bush-a gorgeous small native tree that every garden should have. I have literally seen parrots feeding on the berries of this tree while ignoring the Carrie mangoes 5′ away!!!
      White powder-puff tree
      Moringa
      Jacaranda
      Plum
      Washingtonia palm

      To the point of the farmers, the native trees were all removed for fruiting trees. The parrots certainly never evolved to eat fruit as fruits were never on these islands before we brought them here. We have removed their natural food source in their habitat and forced them to eat what we replaced it with. The downside of monoculture…
      I would love to see a farm where the fruit trees are mixed with generous quantities of the parrots’ natural food(seeds) and see how much loss can be reduced.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said 6:20! Farmers should plant some natives to provide an alternative for the parrots which in turn would likely mean their crops remain untouched. They might be pleasantly surprised by the results! Life is about balance. Unfortunately for our wildlife, the scales are tipped in the favor of unsustainable development. Going forward it should be put into law that people have to plant a certain amount of native flora on their properties in order to get planning permission. Look at what Singapore has done with its buildings!

      • Anonymous says:

        Really – monoculture on Cayman?

        You should really stop reading.

      • Anonymous says:

        Say that again “the native trees were all removed for fruiting trees”

        So you are trying to convince us that there is more farmland than developed land in the Cayman Islands?

        We could only wish!

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