Slow summer for iguana cullers

A culler armed with an air rifle takes aim at a green iguana in a tree during an earlier cull. Police are advising cullers taking part in an iguana cull that begins next week that they will need special firearms licenses. - Photo: Matt Lamers
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The summer doldrums continue for Grand Cayman’s green iguana culling effort, as cullers have now turned in fewer than 10,000 iguanas to the George Town landfill for the fifth week in a row.

Cullers are now behind the overall pace needed to reach the target number of culling 1.3 million green iguanas by the end of 2019.

The Department of Environment programme began in late October 2018 and will last about 60 weeks in all. That means cullers need to average more than 20,000 iguanas per week in order to meet the target number.

Here are the weekly totals for the past five weeks:

  • 8‑13 July: 9,232
  • 15‑20 July: 9,011
  • 22‑27 July: 6,068
  • 29 July-3 Aug.: 4,925
  • 5‑10 Aug.: 6,780

Department officials have previously attributed low culling numbers to heavy rainfall during Cayman’s traditional wet season.

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So far, a total of 839,462 green iguanas have been delivered to the landfill over 41 weeks, according to the DoE.

Cullers are being paid $4.50 a head, rising to $5 if they meet monthly and annual targets, in an effort to wipe out the invasive species in Grand Cayman.

Concurrently, the DoE is conducting its annual green iguana survey for Grand Cayman to assess the effectiveness of the culling effort. Last year’s survey estimated there were between 1.1 million and 1.6 million green iguanas on the island.

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