Walkers boosts iguana security

Staff at Walkers donated thousands of dollars to help boost security at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park following the deaths of seven of Cayman’s endangered Blue Iguanas earlier this year.

On behalf of the firm, partner Mark Lewis presented a cheque last week for $6,476 to the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, to go towards its Blue Iguana Recovery Programme.

The money was raised directly from Walkers’ staff in Cayman through the group’s ‘Dress-Down’ Programme’. With this scheme, employees contribute money towards a designated charity on the last Friday of each month, when they are able to wear casual clothes to the office.

The total amount raised over two months by the staff is then matched by the partners of the firm. The sum is the highest amount that the National Trust has ever received from any corporate ‘Dress-Down’ event.

“The Blue Iguana is a vital part of our heritage and the National Trust’s Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is very important to Walkers. We are pleased to help out in any way that we can,” Mr. Lewis said.

“As a Gold Sponsor of the National Trust, we look forward to continuing to support the conservation of this endangered species and the National Trust’s environmental and educational programmes.”

‘Walkers has been an avid supporter of the National Trust’s Blue Iguana Recovery Programme for a number of years,” said Caroline Key, development and marketing manager at the National Trust. “Through fundraising initiatives such as their Dress-Down day, the staff and partners of Walkers continue to show their generosity and willingness to help the Trust and we are extremely grateful for their charity,” she added.

She said the donation would be go towards security at the Blue Iguana facility in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.’

Walkers is one of the National Trust’s three Gold Sponsors and in 2006 Walkers pledged a total of $60,000 over three years to fund the operating costs of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme.

The National Trust began breeding captive Blue Iguanas in 1990 and the Conservation Programme has helped ensure the survival of the species.

Despite the tragedy in May when seven animals were killed and two injured, there have been some successes. “We have had over 100 eggs in incubators and they should be hatching any day so the genetic blood line of those iguanas killed will continue in their off-spring,” said Frank Roulstone, General Manager of the National Trust. “In addition, we hope to release a number of Blue Iguanas into the Salina Reserve towards the end of the year.”

In 2003 Walkers created a Blue Iguana toy for children, which it uses to promote both Walkers and the Cayman Islands at international conferences. The Blue Iguanas have been such a hit that they have become a key part of the firm’s global marketing effort.

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