Blue Iguana Recovery Program

6 Critically Endangered Killed

May 6th, 2008 | By | Category: Blues in the International Press

Six critically endangered blue iguanas butchered in Cayman Islands breeding facility

Tuesday 6th May, 2008
Six critically endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas were brutally killed in the Cayman Islands QE II Botanic Park. The crime was discovered by volunteers with the National Trust’s Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, shortly after 9am on Sunday morning.

Stamped on

The iguanas appeared to have massive internal injuries, as if they had been stamped on violently and repeatedly. Some were also cut and partially dismembered. Three were found dead inside their breeding pens, two had been carried out of their pens and left in the tour area outside. The body of the sixth is still missing, but entrails on the trail outside his pen are a grim sign of his fate.

Royal Cayman Islands Police

Department of Environment enforcement officer Carl Edwards was on the scene almost immediately, fast followed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police who began forensic work and have commenced an investigation. Dr. Colin Wakelin from the Department of Agriculture closed a large gash in one of the surviving victims and began making arrangements for an autopsy to confirm the causes of death, which will probably take place later today.

The dead iguanas were the adult breeding males “Yellow”, “Pedro”, “Digger”, and “Eldemire”. The grand matriarch of the captive facility, “Sara”, was also dead. “Jessica” had been thrown out of the neighbouring pen and was in shock, but still moving. Both females had been preparing to lay eggs.

The effort to save Jessica’s life went on into the night, but despite specialist advice by telephone from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Dr. Wakelin’s resourceful and determined attempts to stabilize her, she passed away during the night.

Unknown motive

The persons responsible may have broken into the Park after closing hours, and found a way into the fenced-in captive breeding facility. No motive is known for this act of extreme violence against these unique and much-loved symbols of Cayman’s natural heritage. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact the
Royal Cayman Islands Police.

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