The 2018/2019 green iguana cull is underway.
Monday (29 Oct), registered cullers delivered more than 13,000 iguanas to the counting station for an impressive day one total.
With a bounty of up to five dollars per iguana, the cull is also providing many an economic boost.
The Department of Environment said 13,819 iguana carcasses were turned in to the counting facility Monday.
At a base rate of $4.50 per iguana, that comes out to more than $62,000 – with almost $7,000 in bonuses available for cullers that meet their monthly and yearly quotas.
That money goes right into cullers pockets.
Licensed iguana culler Chet Rivers smiled as he captured an invasive green iguana hatchling with his bare hands. It’s good for up to $5 in the 2018/2019 iguana cull.
“At the end of the month, if you reach your quota, you do make good money,” said Mr. Rivers.
Mr. Rivers told Cayman 27 he’s well on the way to meeting his monthly quota of 450 iguanas.
He and another registered culler combined to deliver 250 carcasses to the counting station on Tuesday (30 Oct).
“The price is $4.50, and your quota is 450, so if you could produce that for the month, and then you make like close to 20-something hundred dollars for the month, which is not bad,” said Mr. Rivers.
While the economic incentives of culling are self-explanatory, Mr. Rivers is also eager to do his part to protect the natural environment.
“This is what it is really about, you have all this produce that is going to waste because we are not getting no mangoes, no fruit, no veggies, all of that stuff because of these same creatures,” said Mr. Rivers.
The economic benefits extend beyond cullers themselves.
“For my company we’ve actually gone ahead and hired three members of staff with the intent to hire two more,” said cull manager Karl Noble.
Mr. Noble said in addition to the jobs created to staff the iguana control project team, other companies have sprung up with the aim of captialising on the cull.
“We are seeing business models where companies are preparing for the long-haul,” explained Mr. Noble. “Over time we will see people actually recognize the potential of this program and actually create more companies, more jobs and that sort of thing.”
The DOE is hoping to cull 1.4 million green iguanas by the end of 2019. If that ambitious goal is reached, the project will pay out anywhere from 6.3 to seven million dollars to cullers.