Rock iguana joins Cayman Turtle Farm menagerie

| 02/04/2014

(CNS): An endangered Cayman rock iguana from the Sister Islands has joined the eclectic collection of animals at the Cayman Turtle Farm as it awaits its potential return to the wild. The Cyclura nubila caymanensis was found, officials said, in Grand Cayman by the Department of Environment in April 2013 and was transferred to the care of the CTF in late May last year due to concerns over its failing health and the lack of appropriate resources at the DoE to rehabilitate the animal. Nursed back to health, the iguana, which is endemic to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, is a cousin to the blue iguana.

Also an endangered species, it is highly threatened on Cayman Brac but more abundant on Little Cayman, though the smaller island's population is still vulnerable and continuously threatened by development, road kills, and free-roaming cats and dogs. The species is both internationally and locally protected.

On loan to the Cayman Turtle Farm, the female is currently housed in the iguana enclosure located just outside of the park’s Caribbean free-flight Aviary. Since taking up residence at the farm she has been nursed back to primehealth and has also undergone DNA analysis to confirm her identity and island origin. This is part of a DNA analysis study carried out by a student at the Mississippi State University under the supervision of Dr Mark Welch, a specialist in Cyclura species genetics.

Although the student’s results indicated that the iguana is a Sister Islands rock iguana, a larger DNA analysis is currently underway to see if each island has its own unique population. The DoE recommended thatthe iguana remains with the Cayman Turtle Farm pending the imminent results of the larger genetic analysis and then a final health screening, prior to release.

In the meantime, this particular iguana offers an educational opportunity and the Cayman Turtle Farm’s curator of terrestrial exhibits and education programmes, Geddes Hislop, is working closely with the DoE to ensure that the iguana is appropriately cared for and part of an education programme centered on the species.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can you eat it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think some of these endangered species should be keep in protected captivity away from the dangers of the wild such as the turtle farm especially with their numbers dwindling. For instance the Giant Panda of China one of the worlds most threatened species have successfully increased in numbers due to controlled breeding in captivity. The same goes for the Bengal Tiger..

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe we could apply that logic to the endangered species of "brainwashed people" in Cayman?

      Cut a canal across WB Rd and ship thm to the Republic?

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is West Bayers don't want you down there ,so we will have to find someplace else to ship you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Only two government entities could pool their resources and take over a year to not return a sister islands iguana to its home some 75 miles away.

    Can’t make this stuff up…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Which home? The one on the left or the one on the right?

      • Anonymous says:

        The middle one. The place to the far right doesn’t care much for preserving its nature.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the turtle/iguana/croc/chicken farm was renamed the 'Cirque Du Cayman", it would be more accurate, make a fortune and avoid international criticism.

  4. Henry 111 says:

    Doe you better get trained up. It is expected the blue iguana will be next when the road and iron wood development goes in up in north side.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is an endangered sub-species, not an endangered species. 

    • CaymanQT says:

      Actually the entire genus of cyclura or rock iguana is threatened, which includes all the species and sub-species.


      • Anonymous says:

        I have one of this species living in my garden from the  year  2004.   10years He is about 6 feet  long Brown and beautiful

        A  lovely pet.

        • Anonymous says:

          You kept it too long.  The meat gets too gamey after 18 months.

        • Anonymous says:

          These are not pets they should have the same right as people, now that he has taken up refuge in you yard , you should not be allowed to interfere with his natural habitat by doing things like mowing the lawn or building a shed. And you should not be allowed to le your children play in the yard any longer becuase it may disturb his resting place.

          Please immediately contact the Nation Trust to turn your porperty over to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it is 23.43. Purely as a result of being too pedantic I suspect.