More hunters sign up for iguana cull in Cayman

More hunters sign up for iguana cull in Cayman

Friday, February 08, 2019

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CMC) — More than 100 new iguana hunters have signed up to take part in the islandwide eradication effort following another appeal for more hunters from the Department of Environment (DOE).

Head of the DOE’s terrestrial resources unit, Fred Burton, said the weekly cull totals had dropped from around 30,000 each week in the early months of the cull, to around 15,000 per week.

According to Burton, he hopes the influx of new cullers will help maintain or even improve the weekly cull totals.

The DOE is aiming to cull 1.3 million iguanas.

So far, a total of 383,809 green iguana carcasses had been dropped off at the cull headquarters at George Town landfill.

Cullers are paid $4.50 per iguana, rising to $5 if they meet monthly and annual cull targets.

Burton acknowledged that a new influx of cullers would not necessarily result in a large rise in the number of iguanas culled. He said the prey had been largely cleared from the easy-to-reach areas, and more skill and effort was required to find them now than in the early days.

In 2017, a DOE annual survey showed a population increase of nearly 200,000 iguanas.

Between 2014 and 2017, the estimated green iguana population in Grand Cayman swelled from 254,162 to 1,060,687.

The department says at least 500,000 iguanas will have to be culled to have any meaningful impact on the iguana population.

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