Small island, deep pockets

Paradise Villas and the Hungry Iguana, located right next to the airport on Little Cayman, are open again for business after COVID restrictions were lifted on the island this week. - Photo: Stephen Clarke

The citizens of Little Cayman love and protect the indigenous plants and wildlife of their little paradise.  

Consensus about their environment is most obvious at their annual Easter Auction, a fundraiser organized by the Little Cayman district committee of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. Each year, local residents dig deep into their pockets to raise money for such projects as the protection of the Sister Islands’ rock iguana and the red-footed boobies. Over the past two years, close to $150,000 has been raised – no mean feat for an island with a population of around 125.  

This year’s auction is scheduled to be held April 19 at the National Trust building on Little Cayman.  

Thanks in part to the auction’s fundraising efforts, in 2013 the National Trust and its supporters were able to make a dream come true when they purchased some 3.5 acres of the largest Sister Islands rock iguana nesting site. The project was later completed with a boardwalk and sign.  

The nesting site is dedicated to Gladys Howard, who has been Little Cayman’s front-runner in safeguarding the island’s plants and wildlife.  

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The accolade to Howard could not be more deserving. She has been a Little Cayman resident since the mid-‘80s when she built the award-winning Pirates Point Dive Resort.  

Mike Vallee, a dive master at Pirates Point Resort, is the unofficial manager of wildlife nesting sites. An avid conservationist who knows every iguana and turtle nesting site on the island, Vallee is also a photographer whose images of Little Cayman’s flora and fauna would make National Geographic jealous.  

“There’s been too much road kill,” Vallee says. “We need to make people more aware of the isle’s iguana’s importance to our ecosystem.”  

To merge ecology and economy into one working, contented system can be challenging, especially in a place like Little Cayman, which has world fame for its Bloody Bay marine reserve and number of endemic species. 

This year’s fundraiser will target the major repairs and upgrades to the Little Cayman National Trust House. There are many subcommittee members working on this event, and so you may hear from more than one of their eager volunteers.  


For questions or delivery of items for auction, contact Betty Bua-Smith on 948-1077/325-1097 or email [email protected], or Clare Lumsden on 729-1129 or [email protected] 


An auction on April 19 will help raise money to protect the Sister Islands’ rock iguanas.
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