Blue Iguana Recovery Program

Blue Iguanas get protected areas

Apr 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Blues in the Local Press

Cayman Net News
Published on Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shrubland - Photo: Douglas Bell

Shrubland - Photo: Douglas Bell

The Cayman Islands Government has just formally committed to protecting almost 200 acres of Crown land in the east interior of Grand Cayman, through a 99-year peppercorn lease to the National Trust.

The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme said the decision by Cabinet is linked to a European Union grant to the National Trust, for managing this area to conserve Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas in the wild, along with their unique shrubland habitat.

The grant also focuses on developing sustainable, low-impact, nature tourism, education and recreation with a visitor centre and trail system.

In a media release, the programme quoted Minister of Tourism and Environment, Hon Charles Clifford, saying, “The preservation of our indigenous Blue Iguana is important to our country and I am grateful Cabinet was able to allocate an appropriate piece of property to the National Trust to assist them in their efforts to save the Blue Iguanas.

“I also want to thank the European Union for their grant which makes this project possible. The grant along with the allocation of the land by Cabinet provides a tremendous boost to the National Trust’s efforts to establish a viable population of Blue Iguanas in their natural habitat.” Programme Director, Fred Burton said, “This is the breakthrough we have been working towards for years”.

“With this new protected area secured and available for iguana releases, we are now in sight of the kind of success that is all too rare in the world today. The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana really can be saved from extinction, and in a few more years the Cayman Islands may be able to boast that they have achieved just that.”

This area is almost all pristine dry shrubland, a wild rocky landscape with views over the generally low native vegetation. This is an environment that Blue Iguanas thrive in. It also supports a range of endangered plants, several of which, like the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana, are unique to the Cayman Islands.

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