Residents of Cayman Brac are invited to attend a community meeting on Monday evening to learn more about the invasion of their island by green iguanas.
Staff from the Department of Environment, along with guest speakers Mike Vallee and Edward Houlcroft from Little Cayman’s “Green Iguana B’Gonna” efforts, will lead the discussions and give advice on how to prevent the green iguana population from exploding.
Current “very conservative” estimates on green iguanas have the numbers on Cayman Brac at about 20 but they could be much higher, according to the Department of Environment.
“We know just how invasive the green iguana is from our experiences on Grand Cayman, and we still have a chance to control the population on Cayman Brac,” said Department of Environment Terrestrial Research Officer Jane Haakonsson, who has been on the DOE team tackling the green iguana problem on Grand Cayman for several years.
“The purpose of this meeting is to build awareness about how bad the problems caused by green iguanas can be, and to set up a similar response team to what we have now in Little Cayman on the Brac.”
Ms. Haakonsson said that the department’s work has been focusing on the environmental impacts of the green iguanas.
“Overabundance of green iguanas has an adverse effect on environmental health. They impact species of environmental concern like the Brac’s native rock iguanas, and cause defoliation of native vegetation, which affects for example, native birds and migratory birds as well,” she said.
“However, for Brac residents and generally, the iguanas also have significant adverse effects on gardens, taking over people’s yards, making messes around their pools, and destroying ornamentals,” she added.
Ms. Haakonsson noted that green iguana sightings in the Brac have mainly been around the dock, as they hitch rides on containers, but concerns are that they have been able to spread much further.
“Normally we see them around Spot Bay,” she said, “but now, they are being spotted on the south coast, which means they are spreading.
“We encourage people to come to the meeting to hear from the Little Cayman response team members, and to learn more about how bad the problem has the potential to be …. We definitely can’t do this on our own, and need people’s help in addressing this problem before it’s too late.”
The meeting, hosted by the Department of Environment in conjunction with the Little Cayman Committee for the National Trust, will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre, 265 Ashton Reid Drive, Cayman Brac.