Blues did have protection

Angela Eldemire asks why the captive Blue Iguanas weren’t better protected in the first place.

Well, there is security and risk assessment is a tricky subject.

The captive breeding facility was protected by an eight-foot chain link fence with barbed wire – in part– and an eight-foot high picket fence for most of the rest, with four pens open to public view being the only ones not behind such fencing.

Then the entire facility is within the QE II Botanic Park whose only entrance is gated and locked after hours.

Did we ever imagine that a determined criminal would break into the park and the fenced-in part of the captive facility, with a dog, and systematically kill seven – not six – of our adult Blues.

No, not in our worst nightmares.

But the Cayman Islands have changed in the time I have been working on this programme, and alas, it is forcefully evident now that we need to convert the captive facility into something more like a prison or a bank vault.

Those are time times we are moving in to, it seems, a sad reality to face, but there it is.

To ask if our fences were animal proof isn’t really the point here. Human agency was at work and the dog almost certainly had help getting in there.

The free-roaming iguanas that the dog would have attacked if unrestrained were not touched.

The pen walls are a disincentive to even the largest of wild dogs, who we know from the past, would focus on the more accessible free roamers.

But it was the penned iguanas behind the fences that were slaughtered.

Vision after the event is often 20/20, and we all wish we had invested in even more security earlier, but please don’t imagine the place was not protected at all. It was.

Pledges and donations of funds to put in more security, have flowed in, and the Prison Service is assisting as well.

Private sector offers of other resources have been made, and we have already heightened security on the site.

I totally agree with Angela that these deaths are beyond any financial value we can assign.

But perhaps it would be fairer to direct the outrage and anger against the person or persons who committed this crime, rather than those of us who never predicted such an awful thing.

I’m sure those of us who are working so hard to save Grand Cayman’s Blue Iguanas, are not the only people who still struggle to understand why anybody would do this – and it is difficult to imagine anyone would be able to predict an assault that is still so incomprehensible to us all.

Fred Burton

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