Friday 7 August, 2020

Driver intentionally swerves and kills endangered blue iguana

On Thursday, Blue Iguana Conservation, the National Trust's conservation programme for the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, was called to attend to an incident which is being referred to by conservationists as "utterly tragic."  

According to Blue Iguana Conservation, a driver on Queen's Highway deliberately swerved to collide with a wild male blue iguana, which was eating on the roadside verge.

After his successful breeding and rearing at the captive facility, the animal was released into one of the protected reserves in 2012, where it had been thriving for 8 years, to then be killed by a deliberate act.

"The loss of this large (7 kg) breeding male is utterly tragic and sets the programme back years," said the team at Blue Iguana Conservation.

"All the team here at BIC would like to make a heartfelt appeal to locals and visitors on Grand Cayman to please drive carefully and to avoid hitting any iguana - it just might be a blue."

Due to over-development from the growing human population in Cayman, the Blue Iguana's natural habitat has significantly diminished. Another threat the species faces is attack by animals such as dogs and cats. Blue iguanas have also had issues competing for natural resources against the more aggressive Green Iguana. Each of these threats have been a big contributor in the near extinction of the Blue Iguana Lizard. 

In 2003 it was recorded that there were just over a dozen of this endangered species living in their natural wild habitat. It was predicted they would become extinct within a few short years. About a hand full of non- profit agencies are working with The Cayman Islands government to reestablish a more bountiful population of the Blue Iguana Lizard. These agencies have bred and released nearly a thousand back into their natural environment.

Today, with all the efforts of the non-profit agencies to ensure the survival of this species, there are around 750 Blue Iguana Lizards living in the wild. This is a tremendous turn-around from the documented dozen living in the wild in 2004.

For those who are interested in supporting the growth of the blue iguana population, Blue Iguana Conservation is seeking donations to help with the urgent construction of new hatchling cages after a promising breeding season. It costs CI$150 to build a cage, in order to provide the optimum start for its precious baby blues.

If you would like to donate towards these cages, please click here.

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