New rules rolled out to control alien species

| 15/12/2022 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service
Green Iguana adult (Photo by Mark Orr)

(CNS): New regulations have been approved by Cabinet to protect native and endemic plants and animals under the National Conservation Act. The National Conservation (Alien Species) Regulations introduce a prohibited species list, outline the distinctions between domestic and feral animals and define permitted procedures and actions to control feral animals and other alien species, reducing the threat to local flora and fauna.

National Conservation Council Chairperson McFarlane Connolly said the NCC believes the regulations represent a substantial win for Cayman’s unique native and endemic plants and animals, which are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of invasive species.

“We understand this can be an emotive topic on all sides, and we hope these regulations will bring greater clarity to conservation practitioners, animal welfare groups, landowners, veterinarians and pet importers and owners,” he said. “While the Regulations were published in the Cayman Islands Gazette on 3 November 2022, certain portions of the legislation come into effect three and six months after publication.”

Over the next six to twelve months, the Department of Environment will work closely with the NCC to undertake substantial public outreach to help the Cayman Islands community understand what the new rules mean and how they will impact the community.

“A communications plan has been developed and is being deployed over the coming months to ensure key stakeholder groups, government entities, community organisations and, indeed, the wider Cayman Islands public can know everything they want to know about how these new Regulations will work,” said Connolly.

Experts at the DoE explained that prohibited species are plants and animals that have been identified as posing exceptionally severe threats to the native species of the Cayman Islands. The rules outline the circumstances for keeping pets and ornamental plants, including the breeding, import, export, purchase or sale and stiff penalties for infractions. A permit system will be in place to allow exceptions for people who already own alien flora or fauna.

The prohibited species list was partially informed by a regional British Overseas Territories invasive species workshop hosted here in 2018, which brought together scientists and stakeholders to identify various species and activities that pose threats to native flora, fauna and environments across the region.

Local scientists also considered what species were both the biggest risk to our local species and the most likely to be requested for import to address anticipated threats. Invasive species are a significant environmental problem internationally as well as locally.

The rules are aimed at protecting native species that were here before humans and species that occur only on these islands, such as the Grand Cayman blue iguana and Sister Islands rock iguana, or those found here naturally, such as brown and red-footed boobies, sea grape trees and mangroves. Many native and endemic species face local or global extinction, or are culturally and environmentally important, and are protected from harm under the National Conservation Act.

Not all alien species become a threat but mismanagement of them can lead to problems. Alien species include domestic dogs and cats, livestock and plants used in landscaping and agriculture. The new regulations provide greater clarity on how these species can be managed safely to ensure they do not become a threat.

Invasive species introduced intentionally or accidentally through human intervention do pose a significant threat because their reproduction and resource consumption can occur at much faster rates than can be managed naturally, as demonstrated by the green iguanas and lionfish.

Another major problem is feral animals that are living in “the wild” and do not have identifiable owners, but the new rules set out the procedures for controlling them. This will enable the DoE and the Department of Agriculture to cull animals like green iguanas, feral cats and other unmanaged alien species to curb the threat they pose to native animals and plants.

The regulations are available here and questions can be sent to the DoE@gov.ky


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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Looks like feeding a starving cat or dog is now illegal. Seems harsh.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What about the chickens ?
    It’s getting out of hand.
    Not a quiet moment, 24/7 screaming.
    Messing up gardens, garbage bins and risk of deceases.

    I think its probably part of this ancient caymanian culture.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m starting to see small iguanas here and there. Haven’t seen a culler in ages

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has the largest drifter transient population in the hemisphere, and many abandon their “pets” when they are refused pr and take off for greener pastures.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think people understand the depth of this law. Veterinarians are no longer allowed to spay and neuter or help injured animals without an owner. Also says that anyone that thinks that an animal is feral is allowed to kill them that includes cats and dogs. What’s to stop someone from killing someone’s pet if they accidentally get out of the house.
    The most concerning thing about this law is that the public is allowed to cull dogs and cats!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Alternative take: If you own an animal (pet/livestock/poultry), you should not let it wonder into other people’s land or into natural areas. These properly looked after animals can get care. Animals that don’t have an owner/are uncontrolled won’t be allowed to degrade the natural environment, compete with wildlife or poo all over your yard.

      If you have a neighbour letting their animals wonder all over the place or want to see wildlife rather than feral animals in the forests, this is great news.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Simple eliminate humans and you eliminate the problem. Humans are a cancer to this beautiful plant.

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    • Anonymous says:

      put your money where your mouth is and start the daisy chain.

    • Anonymous says:

      …said the chickens.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who is going to put a stop to the people who own beach property from destroying the coco plum, jennifer and the lavender. Those along with grape trees were the buffer during hurricanes. It is time for something to be done to stop the destruction.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Alien species should be controlled and banned from being imported to the island. However, the banned of animals for consumption is beyond understanding for self sustainability. Why are quails, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, geese, Guinea hens, etc on the banned list?

    If one can self sustain himself and family, then reliance on the supermarkets for meat will not be required.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You mean like the feral chickens? Good idea. Lets get the feral chickens into farms and then maybe we can talk about other birds.

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  8. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    …and racist assholes. 🙁

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  9. Anonymous says:

    How did you forget the Cubans!?

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  10. anonymous says:

    Must be so nice for the people who make these rules to enjoy access to regular veterinary care on behalf of those who have been denied it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Vets don’t usually treat people, except in gangster movies where the wanted gunshot victim can’t go to the hospital, lest they be arrested.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll take a vet over an M.D. any day. They gotta be able to cure a lizard, a chicken, a pig, a frog – all on the same day.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe educating locals on how to spay and neuter the animals they let roam free. How about poor animals that are kept in cages outside and never walked or worse just tied up outside and left.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Now do something about the dam chickens 🐔 everywhere.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    So we need to protect indigenous species from other animals, but we can still concrete over their habitat.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t that be Immigrations job?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    The only indigenous creatures being ignored are We The Peoples.
    We will soon be a byword, as commonplace as the word “caymanian” is now. Diluted, sidecars, watered down, now even if capitalization.
    Miss Annie where are you?!
    Laws on drug abuse, drinking and dancing on Sundays, decriminalization of ganja etc.
    Not a mention I have heard of children or family.
    Not a word or representation is heard from “churches”.
    A pointless referendum on these topics, but no referenda on larger compulsory national issues.
    https://thecommonwealth.org/news/rights-indigenous-peoples-must-be-respected

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    • Caymanian says:

      Oh for Gods sake, stick to the headline! Here comes the Mckeeva, Jamaica, Alden, I need a job BS you people love to bring up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except Caymanians are not indigenous. 300 years of settlement doesn’t make a group indigenous. Caymanians have been on Cayman for less time than modern North Americans, and to compare them to indigenous peoples like the First Nations, South and Central American Indians or aborigines is ridiculous.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Who is you?
        Aborigine? Native American?
        First peoples / settlers / natives are recognized globally
        Don’t be a doofus

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        • Anonymous says:

          No one considers settlers to be indigenous, you are obtuse. Realise the world is bigger than Cayman and you will come to realise your own shortcomings and biases.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Settlers are recognized globally? Lol. Europeans landed in Australia in 1788. Same century as immigrants started living in Cayman. You think they are “recognized” as indigenous? No one on Cayman is indigenous- it’s just where you are on the timeline of arrivals. Maybe be painful for you to accept that you are not special because of 300 years of settlement, but it’s an uncomfortable truth.

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      • Anonymous says:

        but we were here before you you no good son of a you know what

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      • Anonymous says:

        Judging by your comment I suggest you take a history lesson instead of trying to teach one online.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks poster at 8:56 pm. By the way wasn’t ‘Huldah’ Road named for Miss Annie, and carried her full name. (Annie Huldah Bodden) If not can, someone say who is this person Huldah, and is there another road name for Miss Annie.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except Cayman has no indigenous people.

      we are all settlers from similar origins. Your family may have been here longer than mine, but all that means is they were simply an earlier wave of the same flood that brought me here.

      Even the pre-european peoples, like the Carib etc never laid any kind of claim to Cayman. it was empty when our ancestors got here.

      Your family and my family are from the same places: Mostly Europe and Africa most likely.

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      • Tyrone says:

        try to make us leave then if you want to get cayman wrath in your ass

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        • Anonymous says:

          Who said anything about leaving?

          Nobody trying to force you out, just you not trying to keep up with the modern Cayman society.

          Being here first means precisely nothing, if all you do with it is moan and demand special treatment.

          You want to decide how to shape Cayman’s future? Get off your ass, stop playing victim, and do something about it.

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