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Winning the war, reducing green iguana numbers

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With the green iguana problem on the rise finding successful ways to control the population is proving difficult. However, one man’s home-made invention may prove useful in the fight against the invasive species.

Over the years more and more green iguanas have flooded into Cayman’s ecosystem, the most recent estimates have shown green iguana numbers more than 60,000. Different groups have tried different ways to control the population. To date some efforts have included the castration of the dominant male in a given territory, culling, and the use of dogs.

Iguana hunter Ralph says for the most part these efforts have been in vain.

“The use of dogs it’s fine, dogs can’t climb trees, iguanas can so that don’t really work that well. Castration I always think of it as, is this an exercise of fertility or futility. Because having taken an adult male, the dominant male, from a given territory and castrating it, you’re hoping that male will prevent other males for mating,” he said. He added, “His research proves this simply isn’t the case.”

He told Cayman 27, “I have a series of photographs showing a single female mating with five different males in the presence of the dominant male.”

Faced with an ever-increasing problem and limited options, he decided to make his own home-made trap. He calls it the Suppression Unit. At first it may not look like much but, looks can can be deceiving. It’s made from a few pieces of two by four, a couple of aluminum sheets, and some wire fencing. How it works is pretty simple, once all the sides have been assembled a female, or vegetables are placed inside as bait to lure others in.

“The males will start coming around and they will try to get into the enclosure called the suppression unit and they would spend a lot of time trying to get in. Some times hours. Then they would find a way which is really a trap door, on the side of the suppression unit. They go in and they will not come back out.”

The trap is portable and can easily be broken down and then reassembled into any shape or almost any terrain.

So far no iguanas have escaped, and Ralph says iguanas in Cayman are now in the wrong place at the wrong time. He adds that he is willing to share his research and his traps to help anyone who would like to help with his efforts to bring the exploding population under control.

About the author

Andrel Harris

Andrel Harris

After completing high school in Cayman, Andrel Harris joined the news team as a Reporter Trainee in 2013. Now he serves as a reporter/producer, as well as the 'Cayman 27 Today' anchor. He also contributes to the talk shows and present weather forecasts. He hails from the district of North Side.

"Working with Cayman 27 has been a rewarding and eye opening experience. Through the power of the media, I've been able to help give a voice to the people living in Cayman." - Andrel Harris

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