A call for iguana hunters and culling businesses to put themselves forward for a nationwide eradication effort attracted 44 responses.

Timothy Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said the level of response to the request for information was extremely encouraging.

He said the DoE was still analyzing the responses and would likely put out a full request for proposals shortly before beginning to issue culling contracts next month.

The DoE hopes new and existing iguana culling businesses will ramp up their operations to deal with the growing invasive species problem.

At a press conference last month, officials warned that they would need to start culling in excess of a million iguanas each year to get to grips with the problem.

The initial request for information was designed to gauge the level of interest and capability within Cayman to meet that task.

Questions have been raised about whether the $1.1 million annual funding currently budgeted will be enough to finance a cull on the scale required.

Mr. Austin said Monday that the focus of the DoE right now was to get the program started and to cull as many iguanas as possible with the finances available.

He said the response to the request for information was very good.

“We had 44 people fill out the form and a lot more come into the office,” he said. “There is generally a large amount of interest out there and we are pleasantly surprised with it.

“The next step is to get an RFP [request for proposals] together. We are pushing hard to start in September,”

He said the landfill site was being prepared in readiness for an inundation of iguanas. He believes many of the businesses that responded to the request for information, including some who already work culling iguanas in the private sector, would be ready to start immediately.

“There is lead time for some of them, but most indicated they would be good to go for September,” he said.

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