Rock iguanas face dire future

The alarm has been raised about the impending fate of the Cuban Rock Iguana that is a part of the nature of the Sister Islands.

Without some human intervention the animals could go the way of their cousins, the Blue Iguana, on Grand Cayman. That species almost became extinct when the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme stepped in and brought the number of animals back to a safe census.

The Rock Iguanas are coming under the same threats that almost obliterated the Blues – feral and domestic cats and dogs and human beings driving vehicles, as well as progress and development.

We owe it to future generations and these endemic animals to do everything in our power to protect them.

For starters, those driving the roads of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman can observe the posted speed limit; in many places on the Brac and all over Little Cayman it’s 25mph.

Government could also step in and use road equipment already on Cayman Brac to build speed bumps in areas where the iguanas are known to live and breed. (Sister publication the Caymanian Compass has reported that government road equipment has already been used to pave several private driveways and car parks. Surely using the equipment on public roads to help save the endemic Rock Iguanas can be done if the use of it on private property is deemed proper and OK by those in Government.)

People who own dogs and cats on the Sister Islands should ensure those animals are being spayed and neutered. As for the feral population of dogs and cats, they should be rounded up. It is hard to believe that the feral cat population is out of control on an islands as small as Little Cayman. There are leash laws in the Cayman Islands and they should be enforced on the Sister Islands.

The Blue Iguana on Grand Cayman is thriving today partly because of the Salina Reserve off the Queen’s Highway. It’s possible that the same thing will have to be done on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but we hope not. One communal nesting place has been identified in the Sisters, but Government or the National Trust must step in and find a way to acquire the land the protect the Rock Iguanas. But it would be best if humans, dogs and cats could live in harmony with the Rock Iguana and let them roam freely.

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