Today’s Editorial for December 10: Step up efforts to save the Blues

There is a segment of our culture that is in desperate need of help to ensure its species doesn’t disappear from the face of the Earth all together.

The population of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana has made it to the point that those involved in its conservation always knew it would hit – it’s time to provide more space so the animals can continue to multiply or face extinction with the limited amount of land they call home.

What’s needed is 300 to 500 acres of shrub land in the eastern districts and the best way to procure that is to look to Government and Crown holdings.

Most of us expressed alarm and dismay in May when someone or something entered the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and slaughtered one-third of the adult breeding iguanas that we know about on Grand Cayman. We wrung our hands at the thought of losing part of the iguana population that could help ensure our blues live on forever.

Now it’s time to make sure that the breeders we have left and those in the future have a place to do just that.

Money is there to help with the programme in the form of CI$785,488 from an EU grant. But for grants to work, those receiving the money must show that they have the necessary items in place so the money can be dispersed. In this case, the needed item is the land. Once that is procured, it can be developed and additional property purchased

It is envisioned that a visitors’ centre will go on the new conservation site and a consulting engineering firm – Hallcrow Yolles – is waiting in the wings, ready to help build the centre.

The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme has some major players behind the scenes with support; firms like Walkers and Greenlight Re.

There are also many government organisations that help make sure our Blues are preserved.

It is now up to us to give all of them our support and help urge Government to quickly approve land for the new protected area.

Too much work has gone in to the protection of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana to bring it back from the brink of total destruction to drop the ball now.

If we don’t work to save our Blues now, they won’t have a future and the children and grandchildren who come after us will only know about these regal animals through stories and old photographs.

Let’s not let that happen.

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