Fingers crossed as Blue Iguanas settle into SalinaMay 2nd, 2006 | By admin | Category: Blues in the Local Press
Cayman Net News Online
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
According to Fred Burton, the Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Program, things are so far so good for the blue iguanas which were recently released into the Salina Reserve in the Eastern area of the Island.
“It’s been reassuring, measuring and weighing these plump, wriggling young iguanas, to see how well they’ve done since we let them go,” said Mr Burton, in his recent field notes.
“All are alive and well, and some have even gained weight though food resources are getting scarce as we enter the dry season.”
The next thing on the agenda for the blues is the weighing and measuring of the males.
Then the team will spend weeks recording data and analyzing the results of the monitoring.
“It’s tempting to speak of success, but it’s far too soon for that,” adde Mr Burton.
“Some of these released iguanas should be big enough soon to mate, and that brings a whole new raft of questions and uncertainties. Only if the released Blues nest successfully within the soil patches of the Salina Reserve, will we feel confident we’re on the right track.”
There are many things that could stand in the way of the successs of the release programme. Food resources may run low and the iguanas could migrate out of the Reserve in search of edible foliage.
Instinct could draw the creatures to the coast for nesting bringing the females into harm’s way on the busy coastal road. Maybe the uncertain dry summer rains will fail, and the females scatter looking for moist nesting soil.
Meanwhile, Mr Burton said that an unresolved mystery lingers over the last truly wild Blues, remnants of the original population in the heart of Grand Cayman’s East End.
“Issues also remain with the small restored wild population in the QE II Botanic Park. Above all, our long term goal of 1,000 wild Blue Iguanas requires more managed iguana habitat than the Salina and the Park alone can provide.”
Mr Burton added that he would be exploring some of these interesting and challenging issues on the website at www.BlueIguana.ky.