As the number of green iguanas culled passes the half million mark, the Department of Environment is looking for more cullers to join the hunt.
The DoE and private sector partner Cornwall Consulting Ltd. are seeking new applicants to train and join the intensive effort to eradicate the invasive green iguana species from Cayman.
In its first 22 weeks, the organised effort, which began on Oct. 29 last year, has netted 502,427 iguanas. The latest weekly total, 13,525, represents the lowest weekly total recorded during the cull.
“We’ve bagged about 500,000 of these invasive critters since late October, but there are probably close to one million more out there on Grand Cayman,” said Fred Burton, DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit manager, as part of an official statement on Friday. “If we don’t keep pressing ahead with the cull effort during the upcoming breeding season, the Green Iguana population will bounce right back.”
The DoE said Monday that there are 471 registered cullers.The DoE made a similar call for more cullers a few months ago and reported that 115 new registrants were added to the rolls in early February.
Cornwall Consulting and the DoE have sought assistance from Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman to contact unemployed or underemployed Caymanians via phone and/or email. The hope, in this case, is to find more people who might want to participate in the final eight months of the cull.
The DoE had hoped to take around 1.3 million iguanas out of the ecosystem, and Cayman hunters registered more than 100,000 kills in both November (154,929) and December (110,741). Now, as the iguanas become more scarce, there’s a push to find even more hunters.
“We believe more people want to get involved, but they don’t feel confident in their own culling abilities,” said Karl Noble, manager of Cornwall Consulting. “We can help with that.”
Cornwall Consulting will host training programmes for prospective cullers at the George Town landfill over the coming weeks and months.
Any current cullers who wish to have a ‘refresher’ course may also participate.
The DoE will also be distributing informational flyers on how to get involved or receive training for the cull at WORC, the Needs Assessment Unit and various other social service agencies.
“We will need all hands on deck to ensure the continued success of the Green Iguana Cull Project,” said Minister of the Environment Dwayne Seymour in a statement. “Caymanians who want to earn some extra money and help their community deal with this invasive pest will have every opportunity to get involved.”
Interested Caymanians who are at least 18 years old can contact Cornwall via phone at 949-1544 or 769-8888, or via email at [email protected]