Greenie taped up seven days


    It’s not easy being green.

    Since the removal of their protected status under the Cayman Islands Animals Law last year, the various breeds of green iguanas that have migrated here have been hunted, captured, killed and eaten.

    Department of Agriculture officials, who have themselves released a booklet that contains iguana cooking recipes, confirm this is all perfectly legal.

    But a recent situation in South Sound that involved a greenie being taped up for about seven days until it was discovered by a child in the yard of a home and freed has raised some concerns.

    “[Restraining green iguanas] should be a temporary measure, and not for the animal to be kept like this long-term,” said the Ag. Department’s Maggie Baldino.

    According to the South Sound home’s owner, who did not wish to be identified for this article, the greenie was one of three iguanas that had been captured in the yard of a neighbour’s home and restrained with duct tape on Sunday, 3 April.

    This method of restraint is actually what is advised by the Agriculture Department.

    “After capturing a green iguana, a method of restraint is to truss the legs behind its back,” Ms Baldino said. “[But] when a person chooses to taken an animal into their possession, whether it is a green iguana, feral chicken, livestock or family pets, they are responsible for its welfare and humane treatment.”

    After the three iguanas were captured and taped up, they were apparently left that way until the home’s gardeners came to round them up. Two were killed on Wednesday, 6 April. The third apparently managed to slither off without the use of its legs and ended up in the neighbour’s yard where it remained until found on Saturday, 9 April.

    The family that found it cut the tape loose and let the animal go.

    “Allowing or causing an animal to suffer, neglecting or abandoning it is an offence in the Animals Law,” Ms Baldino said, adding that the department usual applies the ‘freedoms’ test when determining if animal cruelty has occurred. Those are freedom from hunger and thirst, from discomfort, from pain, injury and disease, from fear, and the ability to conduct their natural behaviour.

    The Agriculture Department said it would continue to try and educate residents about the humane treatment of green iguanas and safe measures for their capture. It advises that gloves and thick shoes and pants should be worn during a capture as greenies will bite.

    The department also gives tips on how to capture iguanas through the use of a noose or a baited cage, and further how to house the iguana when it is captured. It also gives tips on the most humane ways to slaughter them prior to cooking.

    Legislators approved a change in the Animals Law last year that left only Cayman’s indigenous iguana species, blue and rock iguanas, on the protected animals list. The population of both native species has become a concern in recent years and scientists have fretted that green iguanas – which are prolific breeders – would dominate the food supply, pushing the blues out.

    Residents have also long complained about the creatures pilfering garden vegetables and fouling pools on various properties.


    The taped greenie found in South Sound on 9 April.
    Photo: Submitted


    1. I wonder why the South Side owner who so mistreated this iguana didn’t want to be identified. Perhaps they felt shame at being so heartless toward one of God’s creatures. Torture of any creature is cruel.

    2. A brief note on Panama Jack’s comment.

      The homeowner referred to the in the article is the one who found the animal and freed it. The iguana was actually captured in a neighbour’s yard.

    3. It’s horrible to mistreat any creature. Shame on you.
      In addition The Department of Agriculture needs to come into this is century. Cruelty is just not right in any way shape or form, it’s just ignorant.

    4. This is only one example of cruelty to animals. Unfortiunately, in Cayman there are a lot more and the government schools need to do a lot more in the way of educating people about treating animals humanely. Just recently, I had to cut off a collar from a dog that had become embedded in it’s skin. A puppy given to the kids, no doubt, discarded to fend for itself once it was no longer cute and no longer a puppy. He was emanciated and full of mange. And all these puppies and kittens around, left to fend for themselves because of irresponsible owners who don’ spay or neuter their pets, but let them have litter after litter and set the puppies and kittens free. To starve to death. There need to be huge fines for animal cruelty as well. Do you really believe that by speaking to this owner about taping up iguanas is going to make him stop? How naive!

    5. This critter so happens to be green but a better statement would be that it’s not easy being an animal these days.

      We humans are so incredibly lucky that no animal on this planet will not, nor has the slightest inclination or know-how to perform a demented act such as this, because if they did, perhaps as many as a couple of billion or more people would not share this living planet right now.

      Solution: Stop the importation of any animal of any kind that is not natural to our environment. Remove all foreign birds, fish and what not from the shelves in the pet stores and implement a very strong conservation law that protects what rightfully belongs here. Perhaps then we can also stop killing our local protected parrot. If not, well, then let nature take it’s course and we’ll see who will win in the end but make no mistake, we have absolutely no right to blame it on the animals and kill or torture them like this as a result of our total ignorance for animal rights and their right to life, domestic or wild.

      As far as the animals already here is concerned, let them live, animals have a much better attitude towards sharing this planet then humans will ever have. Learn something and follow suit. They are not in our way, we are in theirs.

    6. Quote by Bodden THIS SENSATIONAL JOURNALISM! I am sure that I can find another animal that is being abused and report on it all day!

      I agree with you 100%

      It wouldn’t be difficult for you to find yet another defenceless animal that has been tortured by yet another ignorant, cruel piece of garbage on Grand Cayman.

      Shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours.

    7. To The Press

      The iguanas were left for 3 days in duct tape before 2 were killed and the third escaped. So no one is the hero in this story except perhaps the child who found the iguana and the person who freed it.

      taping up an iguana for 3 days it torture.

    8. Torture or mistreatment of any animals should be reported every day, with the names of the owners displayed and the fines for such raised. We have more than you can count, and one iguana’s unfortunate situation should alert us even more to what is going on with the innocent animals on our island.

    9. There’s too much iguanas now and they are becoming a pest. I suggest we start an iguana farm and those in the wild we can catch them and eat them like we do to our land crabs! I also suggest we start a crab farm too.

    10. Thank you Animaliberator for voicing my exact thoughts!! How horrific an act!! Until animal abusers are charged for such cruel acts, it will continue to happen. But they will pay. They will pay. Jah know!
      The child and parent who freed this animal are heroes in my book! It was taped up for 7 days, not 3!! April 03-April 09. I cannot begin to comprehend the heart of someone who would commit such cruelty. I know of someone who stabs/shoots the green iguanas in front of his young son. Just what lessons is this innocent mind learning and how will he interpret such acts as he grows….God help us….

    11. I agree with Bodden.

      Not sure if we need the expense of an iguana farm but if we do then part of the turtle farm could be used for green iguanas.

      Not only can their meat be sold for cooking but the skins can be tanned to make wallets, belts etc. in the same way as one can use snake skins.

      The current price in the USA for a snake skin purse is about 1,500 USD. So room for a highly profitable business here.

      What’s more, it is LEGAL to own lizard skin products in the USA.