The Price of a Mango

| 01/10/2008

Before you pick up that juicy, ripe, locally grown fruit perhaps stop to think about its true price: it’s been estimated that hundreds of Cayman Parrots are shot every year by local farmers. They are a crop pest it is said. And this has been happening for years.

In the past Caymans population of this endemic species may have been able to handle it- before Ivan and before massive amounts of development. Recent deforestation and also the destruction of Ivan have destroyed nesting habitats for parrots and also their food sources. I believe these two factors are causing the island’s population of parrots to converge on the local agriculture as a means of food and survival. The farmers will claim they have no choice and no support from the government to solve this problem. So they shoot and they shoot ‘by the bag’. A few of the local farmers, if left to their devices, could possibly cause the demise of this species.

We have two choices: status quo and one day have to create a breeding program such as the Blue Iguana, or try to stop this madness with solutions for the farmers: crop protection and compensation. The public also can choose to boycott local farmers who practice shooting this National Symbol. It is no secret here in Cayman who shoots and we all have the choice of who we buy from. I know that as soon as I learned the truth, I vowed to never visit a certain fruit stand ever again. It’s my choice and I choose not to support this act.

Should it be common practice that Cayman’s National Bird a National Symbol – a National Treasure should be shot for a mango? That the young be stolen from nests to be sold as pets, while the parents are shot for a measly fruit? It is a crime and yet the islands have turned a blind eye for years.

Is it the Cayman Parrot’s future that it should be bound for a cage? That it should not be allowed to grace Cayman skies in flocks of dozens? That this boisterous, intelligent and resourceful true Caymanian is not protected and safe guarded for future generations?

Like the rest of the island, so dear to my heart is the Cayman Parrot. I hope next time you pick up a mango, with the red blush of ripeness – you think of the Cayman Parrot with its beautiful coral-red blush, brilliant green and blue plumage and think of the true price of that mango.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is about choice.

    The writer is only speaking of boycotting the offending farmers – I mean how else are we to send the message?  Of course the majority of farmers live with respect of nature: they take from the earth and give back.  What the public needs to do now is send the message that shooting the Cayman Parrot is unacceptable.  Buy your fruit from the many farmers who don’t shoot – it’s that simple.  And write to your government demanding compensation for these farmers so they will stop.  Every year I see less and less Cayman Parrots, we need to act NOW to save them.  We all have a choice, just as the farmer and I am not buying  from farmers who I KNOW shoot parrots.  Pure and simple!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why "how dare any person but…"???

    We dare because we care more about an endangered beautiful animal than we do about a mango or whether the local farmers thinks they are a pest of not.  

    No excuses for killing endangered wonderful animals. 

    That’s why I dare question it!!   It’s my right!

  3. Anonymous says:

    How dare any person but a Caymanian Farmer discuss or question "The Price Of A Mango" 

    If persons in our community are so eager to assist in protecting the Caymanian Parrot, go ahead an volunteer at the National Trust. The Trust will encourage you.

    But one should consider the following before web posting, emailing or publising anything negative about "Local Farmers"

    1 Apple can spoil the bunch! – Just because "A Local Farmer" may have suggested or commented that they have SHOT parrots, does not entitle ANYONE to suggest "All Local Farmers" do so as well.

    Consider the:

    -cost of water in Cayman,

    -cost of gas and diesel in Cayman,

    -cost of immigration permits in Cayman

    -cost of employing immigrant workers in Cayman

    -cost of LAND in Cayman

    -cost of importing foreign fruit "Like the MANGO" to Cayman

    If one now considers all the above less damages/ost from:


    -Spoilage, mainly due to little support from the community for local grown fruits & vegetables, verses foreign imports.

    (hence the importance of supporting the Saturday "Market at The Grounds" efforts).

    -Hurricanes/Tropical Storms

    -Wildlife & Pests like the Parrot, Wild Rabbit, Iguanas & Rats 

    Now please evaluate and reconsider your comments and be more supportive of local businesses "Like the Fruit Stand" and may I also suggest buy more locally from "Local Farmers" and PEST like the beautiful parrot can be protected more because it will be less on the farmers trees for them to eat!

    Please do not continue to cause room for annimousity and suggest that "Local Farmers are not concerned for our island’s eco-system, wildlife and especially helping our local economy here in Grand Cayman and on the Brac because some of the biggest activist for protecting and preserving such things are our LOCAL FARMERS!

     Boycotting the fruit stand is not a wise suggestion to make especially for those that live amongst us with a dislike for anything local. Please DO remember Ivan and it’s aftermath, when their were no stocked supermarkets and WE that stayed were on partically rations for weeks, remember the ice lines? It was the products from our local farmers that feed many. It was a different Cayman for those first few Post Ivan weeks, the community spirit and sharing! Those same mangoes went ever far for those that had no peaches and pears.

    I, my family and friends support local farmers because God will provide for those that are faithful and fair and just. Next time anyone thinks about boycotting look at every road side fruit stand and visit farms during mango season, even weekly on weekends! I’ll be there supporting local businesses and always supporting "Local Farmers" because to many farming is what puts bread on their family table, just like how the financial and tourism industry is to many.

    In closing my first award in life was writing about a local parrot, and as well my first pet in life was a local parrot and now I drive the eastern and northern roads and appreciate the parrots and still support the National Trust and the local farmers because we must live and work TOGETHER for our island’s continued harmony. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    If only it were that easy – I think what happened with the recent Blue Iguana murders only illustrates the absolute ineptness of our Police Department with wildlife issues.  What we really need is a massive public out cry, but people don’t seem to care until it is too late.   It’s not that the Government and Police aren’t aware of this issue, it just doesn’t matter to them.

    Relating to your reports of protection of Green Iguanas, I know of several reports of killing/torturing iguanas to the Police which were dismissed.

    If the Police aren’t willing to prosecute poachers, then our laws mean nothing.  Even when handed evidence, they continue to drag their feet in bringing these criminals to justice.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would be most surprised if it was not a criminal offence to shoot the green parrot. The same law that prevents anyone from killing the green iguana which is now considered by most people to be a pest would provide some protection to the green parrot.

    In addition to boycotting the fruit stand please call the Police who might try to ignore the call but if they receive enough calls will be encouraged to do their duty to uphold the law