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.