As the 2020 green iguana cull gets under way, those behind the project say they will be going into communities to seek permission from homeowners to help reduce complaints of trespass.
“We understand there are some members of the public who are concerned about having folks who may be unknown to them on their property. To avoid those situations, we will actually try to make an introduction,” Cornwall Consulting Ltd. director and cull project manager Karl Noble told the Cayman Compass in an interview this week.
He said the issue of cullers entering private property remains a concern, but he said Cornwall staff will be visiting various areas to do sweeps and actively get permission for cullers to access certain properties.
He said the aim is to have a “more controlled approach” for the project.
“It is very difficult to monitor everyone in the programme at all times. However, we will do our best to continue to educate cullers on the need to have permission prior to entry onto anyone’s property. It becomes a criminal matter when anyone enters someone’s private property without permission,” Noble said.
Fred Burton, Department of Environment terrestrial resources manager, also stressed the importance of getting permission.
He said the rules remain the same from last year, adding that those rules are reflected in the updated contracts which the DoE is currently issuing to the cullers.
Registration for the new phase of the cull started on Monday at the George Town landfill. As of Thursday afternoon, the DoE had received 85 registration forms from individuals and companies.
“All cullers now need to re-register at the landfill reception site and obtain their 2020 culler cards. Cullers with air rifle licences will need their new culler card to reapply to RCIPS for the special licensing provisions they had in 2019,” Burton added.
With cullers heading out to catch the invasive species, Noble said finding the lizards will be a challenge, given the current cool temperatures. Added to this is the fact that 1.1 million green iguanas were killed last year, thus reducing the numbers in the wild.
Noble said the cullers will need the community’s support to make the exercise a success.
He said he believed there are still some private citizens who do not understand or appreciate the dangers that green iguanas pose, and they continue to be resistant to cullers removing the animals from their properties.
“But this effort will actually fail if we have people in the public protecting the green iguanas. So, we just hope that message gets passed on… transmitted to the whole public that, look, we have to be, as a whole community, committed to controlling this problem that we have,” Noble said.