More protection for Blues

| 26/02/2009

(CNS): The captive breeding and head-starting facility for the Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas, located in the QE II Botanic Park, is no longer viewable from the Park’s woodland trail.This is an unfortunate consequence of heightened security at the facility, following the killing of seven captive Blue Iguanas in May 2008 – in a case which has still not been solved. That grim event, followed by increasing incidences of wild dogs invading the QE II Botanic Park, has required security fencing as the only long-term solution.

According to a release from the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP), a security guard has been protecting the facility since last May. The flood of heartfelt donations and assistance which came to BIRP and the National Trust in the wake of the attack have been focussed both on covering the substantial security guard cost, and on building the high-security fence now in operation.

The four breeding pens which were formerly visible from the woodland trail are of necessity within the secured area, and so can’t be viewed from outside. Guided tours inside the facility are still available, however. The Blue Iguana Safari tour, which covers inside the captive facility and also the free roaming iguanas throughout the Park, is offered at 11am every day except Sundays, with tickets available on arrival at the Botanic Park ticket booth.

“Seeing the captive facility behind a high security fence leaves me with very mixed feelings” says programme director Fred Burton. “Obviously in view of what happened last year, this is absolutely necessary, but it is very sad that we need to spend so much on physical protection for such a well-loved symbol of Cayman’s natural heritage.”

Behind the big fence, the iguanas in the captive facility continue to thrive. So long as more protected habitat becomes available, the programme is on course to continue full scale restoration of Blue Iguanas to the wild.

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