More than one million invasive green iguanas are estimated to roam Grand Cayman.
The Department of Environment is aiming to put a major dent in that population, as it launches a large-scale cull later this month.
“There’s no getting away from this: culling iguanas is an ugly process,” said DOE Terrestrial Resources Unit Manager Fred Burton.
While it may be a dirty job, he said with the right incentives, he believes there’s more than enough interest to make a significant dent in the green iguana population.
“There’s roughly 1.3 million iguanas out there, and we are targeting that sort of number,” said Mr. Burton.
To achieve its aggressive target, the DOE is launching a 14-month green iguana cull starting 29 October. Registration is open to Caymanians age 18 and up and relevant licensed businesses starting next week.
“We are looking to register people who are going to get serious about it, that they can cull 400 in the first month, and they are going to maintain that level of effort, if not those numbers,” said Mr. Burton.
A quota system will be in place to incentivize those who meet their culling targets.
“You start out getting paid $4.50 an iguana, if you meet your first month’s quota you get an extra 25 cents for all iguanas that you culled in that month,” said Mr. Burton.
If a culler meets monthly quotas for a year, then an additional 25 cents is paid for each iguana culled throughout that year.
“It’s not going to get any easier as time goes on and we don’t want this to be a big flash in the pan,” said Mr. Burton.
He told assembled reporters at a press conference Thursday (11 October) that monthly quotas will be continuously revised to adjust for the inevitable diminishing returns.
He said while the cull is chasing an ambitious target, his gut feeling is that the cull will make a very serious impact on the iguana population over the next 14 months.
Registration opens next week, Monday (15 October) through Friday (19 October) from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the DOE headquarters on North Sound Road.
It’s open to Caymanians 18 and older and relevant licensed businesses. Registrants are asked to bring photo ID, proof of Caymanian status, a valid trade and business licence, and a firearms license if applicable.
From the DOE: