The 2018/2019 green iguana cull is officially underway.
Registered cull participants delivered iguanas by the hundreds to be counted this morning, as the effort to cull 1.4 million iguanas by the end of 2019 begins.
As you can imagine, dealing with hundreds of green iguana carcasses is not pretty.
Cayman 27 watched as cullers went through the intake process Monday morning at the counting station near the entrance of the George Town landfill, where everything appeared to flow as smooth as possible.
“Thus far we have probably counted about 2,000 iguanas and it’s been about two hours, two or three hours, so we expect probably about 6,000 on day one,” said cull manager Karl Noble.
He and his Iguana Control Project team are tasked with keeping count of the numbers and paying registered cullers for their efforts.
“We are trying to make sure that the count is consistent, so there is no miscount, we are actually making sure it goes very slowly, two at a time, and we go from there,” explained Mr. Noble. “It’s a very straightforward process thus far.”
Cayman 27 cameras were not allowed to film near the counting station, due to concerns that some in the public may find the imagery disturbing.
Some iguanas arrived in better shape than others. Department of Environment terrestrial resources unit manager Fred Burton described one practice
“One practice that we need to put a stop to it is unnecessarily decapitating the iguanas and bringing the heads here, and then dumping the bodies irresponsibly in public dumpsters or in public places, that is not ok and we can’t countenance that,” said Department of Environment terrestrial resources unit manager Fred Burton.
As the culling continues, Mr. Noble said the management team will educate cullers on best practices.
“We’re going to get the iguanas in different states, but the key thing is that they are deceased and that they are culled in an humanely a way as possible,” said Mr. Noble.
And while the early results seem positive, Mr. Burton said the DOE will watch the progress closely to see if cullers can meet their quotas.
“Adaptive management: it’s the name of the game because we honestly are going into an activity that we’ve never really done on this scale before,” said Mr. Burton.
The DOE told Cayman 27 the next couple months will give the department a sense of how the project is going. Mr. Burton said the cull project steering committee will keep tabs on the process and intervene if necessary with adjustments.
The DOE said the public can expect daily updates for the first week of the cull starting tomorrow.