Love them or hate them, green iguanas are god’s creation…
“Then God commanded, ‘Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life; domestic and wild, large and small, and it was done. So God made them all, and He was pleased with what He saw.” Genesis 1:24, 25
Unfortunately just the word ‘greenies’ conjures up anything but pleasing thoughts in Cayman.
Even die-hard animal lovers have trouble finding anything good to say about the invasive species.
“They are detrimental to our environment,” Alison Corbett, project manager with Cayman Wildlife Rescue said.
“Not only are they causing a huge amount of confusion with our endemic iguanas, the Blue Iguana and Cayman Brac Rock Iguana, they have been known to eat native birds’ eggs and destroy other natural wildlife.”
Introduced by outside forces, with few predators or competitors, and in Cayman’s case protected under the Animals Law for decades, the green iguanas have flourished and now over-run the Island.
Their perpetual habit of defecating in pools, destroying local flora and fauna, and threatening native species, has branded them a nuisance and pest that many feel must be destroyed at all costs.
Despite it being a crime to torture these animals, people are letting their frustrations get the better of them.
Corbett says Wildlife Rescue has received numerous reports of greenies being mistreated, people purposely trying to hit them with cars, tying them up and killing them for meat among other things.
The thing to remember is, the green iguanas didn’t ask to come here and now that they are here they are just trying to survive the only way they know how.
Corbett in no way condones torturing or slaughtering the green iguanas and believes that allowing the general public to take matters into their own hands could have a negative impact on local species.
“The Blue or Rock Iguanas could suffer from being mistaken or confused for the greens,” she said.
Corbett does believe the green population should be controlled humanely by government or another agency with the means to euthanize the animals.
The fallout from not defending the green iguanas extends beyond the Cayman Islands.
The sad fact is while residents may believe the greenies have outlived their welcome; tourists have a completely different view.
With very few exotic species in Cayman and since the greenies are the most prevalent creature aside from chickens, visitors take great delight in watching the green iguanas as they stroll around the beach or lie in yards.
So evidence of the animals being treated inhumanely is sure to spark outrage and in the end result in bad publicity for the Cayman Islands, something no one wants.