The biggest Rock Iguana recorded in Cayman Brac was killed by a car this week.
The iguana, known as S, was the largest animal tagged in a recent island-wide survey of the endangered indigenous replies, according to the survey liaison Bonnie Scott-Edwards.
“S was killed at the end of West End Road, by the runway. He had been seen just moments before by joggers,” Ms Scott-Edwards said.
She said a local resident drove by shortly after that and saw that the iguana still alive and well by the side of the road. When he returned home a few minutes later, he spotted the iguana lying dead on the road and called Iguana Hotline, which is manned by Ms Scott-Edwards.
“S had been captured in the abandoned quarry by the airport, examined, tagged and released on 20 January. He was the largest iguana found in the survey, weighing more than 8 kilogrammes.
“He was frequently seen in West End Community Park and along the road. He had a large territory and presumably a large harem,” Ms Scott-Edwards said.
The iguana’s body is being shipped to Grand Cayman for study as part of the Species Management Programme.
He is the latest iguana to become roadkill on the island. In April, a speeding driver ran over and killed a pregnant iguana on South Side Road. Another Rock Iguana is recovering from a broken leg in Grand Cayman after it was injured, possibly by a passing car, on the Brac last month.
By the end of January, the survey showed there were 86 iguanas on the island, although it is believed that there are several more on the island that have not yet been tagged. By the beginning of June, a total of 89 had been tagged.
The survey, called the Big Brac Count, was run 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.
S was named for Sarah Kindschuh, a volunteer from New Mexico who came to Cayman Brac to take part in the survey. She helped capture and process S, Ms Scott-Edwards said.
Just a month ago, the Iguana Survey team, who are notified whenever an untagged iguana is spotted, found S guarding a baited trap that had been placed to capture an untagged reptile.
“The iguana in the trap had already been processed, so we released her … She quickly rushed into the bush and evaded his attentions this time. Let’s hope she has laid a clutch of eggs fathered by him,” said Ms Scott-Edwards.
“S had a habit of basking in the road in the late afternoon,” she said.
Iguanas take their heat from the sun, so they can often be found lying in the open, soaking up the sunshine. Signs are posted throughout Cayman Brac warning motorists to watch their speed when they enter iguana habitat zones.