Blue Iguana Recovery Program

Gorgeous George to make a first impression

Oct 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Cayman News Service
Posted on Wed, 10/10/2009

Photo credit: John Binns, IRCF

Photo credit: John Binns, IRCF

(CNS): He may be cold blooded, but Gorgeous George, one of Cayman’s best known Blue Iguanas, will be extending a warm welcome to the Cayman Islands to everyone who passes through Owen Roberts international. With the help of local legal firm Walkers, the National Trust has created a stunningly attractive poster of the endangered, indigenous creature for the airport to help raise awareness and promote the work of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. Gorgeous George will be one of the first things that people see when they arrive in the customs hall and his poster tagline puts things in perspective: “His ancestors have been here for two million years.”

The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme was started by the National Trust in 1990 when they first began breeding captive blue iguanas. The conservation programme has helped ensure the survival of the species, by releasing captive blue iguanas into the wild. It has already had tremendous success with over 120 baby blue iguanas hatched this summer.

Fred Burton, Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, envisions a self-sustaining, free roaming population of at least one thousand Grand Cayman blue iguanas, living freely in the wild within protected areas, reproducing naturally and continuing to evolve in step with their ever-changing natural environment.

“At the moment we have very roughly about 300 blues restored to the wild, so we have to lift that to at least 700 more and ensure as best we can they are allowed to survive, breed and sustain themselves,” Burton said. “To that end the captive facility is now literally crammed to capacity.”

Walkers and National Trust Airport Sign

Walkers and National Trust Airport Sign

Walkers have long been supporters of the programme and the Blue Iguana’s vital part in Cayman’s heritage. The firm said the success of the recovery programme is extremely important and it has adopted the Blue Iguana as a promotional icon, producing branded soft toys since to promote the work of the breeding project at international conferences, as well as to educate children in Cayman.

As a Gold Sponsor of the National Trust, in 2006 Walkers pledged CI$ 60,000 over three years to fund the operating costs of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme.

“I have been very impressed by the Recovery Programme’s plans to develop native ecosystems for the blue iguanas to attract nature tourism to Cayman and inspire a range of commercial products, in order to generate sustainable revenue to fund  the  management of the blue iguana population indefinitely,” said David Byrne, Chief Marketing Officer at Walkers. “This year we have created an even  more realistic blue iguana toy and we hope they will continue to be used as an educational tool and help raise awareness of the need to support the efforts made by the National Trust to help save this beautiful creature.”

Walkers will also provide the National Trust with unbranded toys to sell in their store with the profits from sales going to support the recovery programme.

Walkers said it is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and its support of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme is just one way in which the firm looks to make a difference within the community, with active participation from staff at all levels.

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