The Department of Environment has posted new road signs warning motorists to watch out for Cayman’s endangered blue iguanas.
The signs, a red triangle with a blue iguana perched in the middle, are located east of Sunny Field Road in East End, and along the Queen’s Highway on both sides of the road.
The signs were put up during the first week of August with the assistance of the National Roads Authority after reports of several of the animals being killed on the roads.
Once considered to be on the brink of extinction, the blue iguana has made a comeback in the Cayman Islands, where the species is endemic. Following a breeding and conservation initiative, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program now estimates that there are more than 1,000 blue iguanas in the wild, with most of them located in the Salina Reserve in East End. The ones that have been released to the wild are microchipped and tagged with colorful beads for identification purposes.
Jane Haakonsson, research officer at the Department of Environment, said that since the start of this year, three blue iguanas were killed on Sunny Field Road and the Queen’s Highway.
She said iguanas are released into the Salina Reserve, but can walk out anytime because the reserve is not fenced in, and eventually some of them end up on local roads.
Calls to DoE usually come in during the breeding season when males roam large territories to fend off competing males, while trying to keep track of their females and searching for good nesting grounds, Ms. Haakonsson said.
“Take caution when you are driving on the roads. Whether … it’s a blue or green iguana in front of you … try not to run it over or swerve unnecessarily. Take care to drive within the speed limit and keep your eye out,” she said.