Thursday, January 19, 2012

Indigenous Iguanas Get Counted

A special subspecies of the Cuban rock iguana found only on the Brac and Little Cayman has been the subject of a census to determine their numbers. The Department of Environment is spearheading the count of this endangered species to preserve their habitat and educate the public to ensure their continued survival. The last count numbers 63 and rising with the help of researchers and many school aged children as volunteers. Fellow Brackers and members of the Brac National Trust are also coming out to help with this undertaking. The US International Reptile Conservation Foundation has also been in support of the program.

The rock iguana faces many of the same perils as its Blue cousin on Grand Cayman. Feral cats and dogs and speeding cars have taken their toll on their numbers. With the help of a hotline number, researchers take location information of the iguanas and capture them to record pertinent information such as length, weight and gender. A microchip is inserted which will record its entire life span and be regularly monitored. A small number is then painted with white-out on its side to be visible in case of future capture. Photos are taken and the animal is released back to its original location. Continued monitoring will also determine the mating and births of these recorded iguanas, which will also be added to the growing data collected.

If you spot a rock iguana, call the hotline number at 917-7744.

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