From the earliest times, the natural environment has shaped the way we live in Cayman Islands.
Today, as the islands grow and develop, our lands and our seas and the creatures that depend on them show their resilience even as threats to their existence increase.
Cayman 27’s Joe Avary looks back at the year that was for the natural environment.
The invasive lionfish grabbed headlines in January, as a tagging study from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute revealed what scientists called evidence of predation.
In February, the Department of Environment installed a new mega-yacht mooring in West Bay, using funds obtained in a settlement with Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen’s company in the wake of a 2016 anchor damage incident.
In March, the DOE took to the skies over Little Cayman, using drones for seabird research. Meanwhile on Cayman Brac, feral cats took a bite out of the brown booby population, killing around 16 individuals in 2018.
Captain Charles Ebanks and his brother Adroy came to the rescue in April, removing a ghost net that entangled sharks and other marine life. The incident brought international attention to Cayman, and the issue of discarded fishing gear.
Around the same time, the indomitable spirit of a turtle found surviving with a missing limb inspired Cayman 27 viewers.
And in June, Cayman 27 broke the environmental news story of the year when it blew the whistle on illegal wastewater dumping by the National Roads Authority. A subsequent investigation revealed the illegal practice had gone on for several years.
July marked a milestone for the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme with the release of the 1,000th blue iguana into the wild.
In August, CCMI scientists took to the waters of its Little Cayman coral nursery, documenting the coral spawn for a second time.
The so-called “Rasta caterpillar” stripped trees bare all over Cayman in September, prompting one of the year’s most memorable and visually interesting news features of the year, according to at least one reporter.
CCMI went hands-on in October, bringing one of its interactive education programmes to UCCI’s STEM conference 2018.
The war on the invasive green iguana hit a new gear, as the DOE launched its large scale 2018/2019 cull. From the end of October through 24 December, more than 280,000 iguanas have been removed from the environment.
Cayman 27 is proud to be the island’s leader in environmental news coverage.
This year, Joe Avary alone published more than 300 stories on environmental issues, and hopes to keep them coming in 2019.