Blue Iguana Recovery Program

Relief over Blues Protection

Apr 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Blues in the Local Press


Cayman Net News
Posted on Thu, 04/02/2009 – 22:59

(CNS): The International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF) has said that letters of congratulations and expressions of relief that Cayman’s endemic Blue Iguanas can be saved for the long term are pouring into their office in California as the news spreads of a new protected area in the east interior of Grand Cayman. The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP) announced this week that the government had formally committed to protecting almost 200 acres of Crown land through a 99-year peppercorn lease to the National Trust.

In addition, the Trust is receiving a European Union grant for managing this area to conserve the Blues in the wild, along with their unique shrubland habitat.

John Binns, the CEO of IRCF, said, “The Cayman Islands Government is to be commended for its decisive action in providing prime habitat to help save the world’s most endangered iguana. Considering that Grand Cayman covers only about 76 square miles, the government’s landmark decision to preserve some of the island’s last remaining prime real estate for its flora and fauna is a benchmark for island conservation.”

The grant also focuses on developing sustainable, low-impact nature tourism, education and recreation with a visitor centre and trail system. (See CNS: New home for the Blues)

“For those of us who have personally struggled and sacrificed, as well as the countless local and international folks who have contributed to changing the course of a species headed on a fast track to extinction, this news is simply overwhelming,” said Binns. “It brings the Caymanian people one step closer to ensuring that the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana will be around for their children’s children to admire, and raises hope around the world that species can be saved. Despite the loss of some very special Blues along the way, the Blue Iguana Recovery Program has been blessed with success unmatched by any other reptile conservation program of which I am aware. It is by all rights a model conservation program.”

Thanking those who have supported BIRP over the years, he said, “Although much work remains to be done and many challenges have yet to be faced before we can relax our vigilance, a summit has truly been reached.”

Nevertheless, BIRP director Fred Burton says they will still have to raise much more money to complete the programme, including funds for access to the area.

Read the Article at Cayman News Service online here: http://www.caymannewsservice.com/science-and-nature/2009/04/02/relief-over-blues-protection

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