Preliminary numbers from this year’s recently completed green iguana census, have yielded what might be described as an ‘unesttling’ piece of information.
The invasive pests now outnumber the island’s human population by a ratio of at least 16-to-1. The full survey results are not yet available, but the Department of Environment said the data indicates the population has certainly surpassed the one million mark.
Last year’s census estimated the population at 800,000. DOE Terrestrial Resources Unit Manager Fred Burton said if there’s a silver lining in the numbers, it’s that the population has unlikely doubled since the last survey. That would place the preliminary estimate of green iguanas in the 1 to 1.6 million range.
If the estimate leans on the high side, humans would be outnumbered by 26 to 1.
Mr. Burton said Cayman will need to ‘think big’ to turn the numbers around.
“It’s got to be a massive operation, anything less than that is throwing money away. If we can’t kill enough iguanas to stop the population actually declining, then all we are doing is throwing money and watching the population increase, and that doesn’t make any sense,” said Mr. Burton.