Speeding driver kills endangered pregnant iguana

Cayman Brac rock iguana-lg

Earlier this year, a comprehensive study of the critically endangered rock iguanas on the Sister Islands revealed that just 86 of the iguanas remain in Cayman Brac.  

Last week, on Friday, 13 April, that number was reduced to 85, when a speeding driver ran over and killed a pregnant ivory-crested rock iguana on South Side Road. 

“It appears that a speeding west-bound vehicle struck the iguana with enough force to splatter her and her eggs 15 feet from the point of impact,” said Bonnie Scott Edwards, who was alerted by a passing motorist who called the Iguana Hotline. 

Mrs. Scott Edwards, the liaison on the iguana study carried out in January, said the iguana was hit within the marked Iguana 
Habitat zone.  

“This iguana had been documented and pit-tagged in January 2012, one of the 86 that were found. Now there’s 85,” she said.  

Despite signs posted on the roads of both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman about the presence of the endangered creatures, iguanas have often been reduced to roadkill by speeding drivers. 

The Big Brac Count was launched in January by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme and international volunteers to determine the number of rock iguanas in the Sister Islands. The photograph accompanying this story shows the iguana when it was photographed as part of that study. 

The survey also sought to determine the extent to which the invasive green iguana species was making inroads into Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The rock iguanas were tagged, measured and had blood samples taken for DNA analysis, before being released back in the same place they were caught. 
 

Anyone who spots an untagged rock iguana on Cayman Brac or Little Cayman should call the Iguana Hotline on 917-7744. 

Cayman Brac rock iguana

A photograph of the iguana killed on Friday, 13 April. The animal was photographed as part of a Sister Islands study of all the iguanas on the two islands in January, 2012. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED

1 COMMENT

  1. This is so sad. But speeding drivers are also a danger for pets and children. We need to increase the fines for speeding, post signs advising motorists what those fines are, and add speed bumps to roads that have long stretches where people are inclined to speed. Maybe hire more officers to do speed traps (this could be their only job — so you don’t have to do extensive training — Speed Enforcement Officer title) — the money you make will more than pay for their salary.

  2. For a moment, when I read the article and saw the picture beside it of a car lodged in the bush, I thought both car picture and this article coincide.

    Editor’s note: Not so. There was a fatal car crash on West Bay Road Thursday morning.

  3. The Green Iguanas have taken over the islands. These are the green ones with black bands or stripes on their tails. Sometimes they appear orange in color and brownish. But they have pretty much taken over.

    The Blue Iguanas, which are protected, has no black stripes or bands on their tails.

    But what is the main characteristic of a Rock Iguana? I would like to know

  4. A blue iguana is actually also a rock iguana. They are close relatives to the CB and LC rock iguana (same species) and look the same. However the GC iguanas are capable of turning blue.

  5. Apprentice

    The major ‘characteristic’ would be location.
    None exist on Grand (not that I know of) and they are only endemic to the Sister Islands.
    More so on Little than Brac, but both are declining rapidly at a logarithmic rate.
    There are no major issues with Greenies there yet as long as a proactive program of control is put into place immediately such as licensing of wardens to shoot them with firearms….along with feral cats and rats.

    If you live, or visit, on Little or Brac I’d recommend braking for any iguana.
    If in doubt of the species, call the DoE for verification and provide them with the location.