CONSERVATION

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Blue Iguana Conservation

A tour of the Blue Iguana Conservation’s captive breeding facility offers an up-close-and-personal view of the Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi), Grand Cayman’s largest native land animal. The tour introduces guests to some of the programme’s star breeders and shares the fascinating tale of how the programme began in 1990, with only 30 dedicated Blue Iguanas, under the direction of conservationist Fred Burton. Today, the breeding facility is home to approximately 100 Blue Iguanas of varying ages, many over five-feet long and in excess of 25 pounds.

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History

The Blue Iguana once numbered in the tens of thousands but over decades the population was decimated by development, wild animals, vehicular traffic and human population. By 2001, fewer than 30 individuals were estimated to remain in the wild and the species was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Formerly known as the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, the initial goal of the programme was to restore a wild population of 1,000 Blue Iguanas in order to encourage a viable population in the long-term. Due to the efforts of the programme, the Blue Iguanas were downgraded from the IUCN’s “red list” to endangered in 2012.

By 2018, we released our 1,000th Blue Iguana, celebrating an important milestone for the programme.

Phase II

In 2019, we began the transition from restoring the wild population of Blue Iguanas to 1,000 individuals towards sustainably conserving the species, which led the to official rebrand as the Blue Iguana Conservation programme.

The programme received two major grants in our 2018/19 fiscal year: £197,902 from the UK-based Darwin Plus Initiative and US$50,000 from US-based Disney Conservation Fund. The grants will fund the second phase of the programme, which includes an enhanced breeding facility, improved husbandry and added manpower to monitor the Blue Iguanas now roaming our Salina Reserve and Colliers Wilderness Reserve. It will also address challenges such as disease prevention and encroaching predators.

Partners & Stakeholders

Blue Iguana Conservation (BIC), is run by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, however, the project has long been supported by partners and key stakeholders across the globe.  On Grand Cayman, BIC works closely with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and the QE II Botanic Park.  BIC has previously received expertise and resources from the International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF) and The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Currently, BIC’s major partners are Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at the Bronx Zoo and San Diego Zoo.

Key partners:

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment
Strategies to protect areas; conservation law and enforcement; government interface; scientific support…. Etc.

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Site of captive facility; test site for wild blue iguana population restoration…. Etc.

Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo)
Veterinary assistance for captive blue iguanas.

San Diego Zoo
Studbook record keeping and breeding recommendations.

Partners and key stakeholders meet every four years to update and develop the Strategic Species Action Plan for Grand Cayman blue iguanas and WCS carry out annual veterinary assessments with the captive blues.

Volunteer Opportunities

Caring for our Blue Iguanas requires daily food collection, meal preparation and pen cleaning, as well as project-based tasks, and would not be possible without the assistance of volunteers. Residents and visitors alike are welcome to join us in our mission to conserve this native species in the following ways:

General Volunteers: minimal commitment of once weekly to help with feeding and food collection, pen cleaning and some light maintenance work.

Skilled Labourers: project-based work such as gardening, plumbing, electrical, painting, carpentry or any other type of skilled labour. Opportunities available for daily, weekly or long-term projects.

International Volunteers: an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience with our Blue Iguanas. All skill sets welcome. Minimum commitment of two weeks.

Interested volunteers should contact bic@nationaltrust.org.ky

Adopt a Blue Iguana

Tour Hours

BIC Facility Tour Hours

Tuesday-Saturday10:30am, 11:30am, and 2:00pm Sunday 10:30am and 11:30am.

BLUE IGUANA TOUR

Blue Iguana Tour

  • Participate in a relaxed nature walk around the Blue Iguana Conservation facility guided by one of the programme’s experienced wardens
  • Learn the fascinating story about this uniquely Caymanian reptile which has been brought back from the brink of extinction in the last 30 years by the success of this initiative
  • Enjoy a self-guided walk of the Botanic Park grounds before or after your Blue Iguana Tour
  • Tour schedule: MON-SAT 10:30AM & 11:30AM
  • Meet at the QE II Botanic Park Visitor’s Centre 15 minutes prior to chosen tour start time to purchase tickets. The BIC guide will meet you there to start your tour of the facility.
  • Reservations not required

Adults CI$20.00/ US$25.00
Children CI$10.00/ US$12.50
Tour approximately 45 minutes

*Private Tours available on request

For reservations and more information, contact us today

SEE MORE INFO

Blue Iguana Online Tour

  • Participate in a real-time Zoom experience from the comfort of your own home by enjoying a relaxed nature walk around the Blue Iguana Conservation facility in North Side, hosted by one of the project’s experienced Iguana Wardens!
  • Learn the fascinating success story about this unique reptile, endemic to Grand Cayman, which has been brought back from the brink of extinction in the last 30 years by this world-famous recovery initiative. See the blue iguanas in their habitats, including new hatchlings and mature breeders.
  • Tour schedule: TUE & THU @ 10:30AM.
  • Short Q & A session planned at the end of the tour.
  • Reservations required. Once the virtual tour has been paid for, you will receive an email with the Zoom Link confirmation.

CI$12.00/ US$15
Tour approximately 30 minutes

*Private Tours available on request
*School Tours available with customized content for student subject/age/grade levels

For reservations and more information, contact us today

Blue Iguana Safari

  • Experience East End’s wild interior to seek out wild Blue Iguanas in their natural habitat.
  • This trek provides an amazing photographic opportunity to capture this uniquely Caymanian reptile and the surrounding woodland environment.
  • Led by the Blue Iguana Conservation team who are extremely familiar with the area and confident in their ability to find the Blues in the reserve.
  • Groups are small (6 participants max) to make this a personal and exclusive adventure.
  • Tour schedule: BY RESERVATION ONLY, 7:30 AM start
  • Reservations required. Once tour is confirmed a list of recommended attire and supplies for the day will be issued as well as meeting time and location.
  • Please note* The terrain is extreme and not suitable for those who are not able-bodied or fit for hot, rugged hiking conditions.
  • Signed Liability Waiver Required upon confirmation.

CI$220/ US$275 per person
Duration varies depending on sightings, approximately 4-5 hours
Minimum Age: 16 years of age

*Private Tours available on request

For reservations and more information, contact us today

Blue Iguana Warden Experience

  • Join the Blue Iguana Conservation (B.I.C) Team for a half day V.I.P experience at the facility located adjacent the QE II Botanic Park in North Side.
  • Get up close & personal access to Cayman’s famous endemic Blue Iguana under the supervision of the B.I.C. Wardens. Join them on their daily routine to get an insider’s experience which includes food collection, feeding/care of the animals in their habitats as well as accompanying the Wardens on one of their daily public tours where you will learn of the history and ultimate continuing success of the project.
  • A mid-morning break will be taken for refreshments at a nearby seaside restaurant. Here you will have a chance to chat with the Team and hear some of their amazing stories of time spent caring for the Blues.
  • Tour schedule: TUE & THU @ 7:30 AM
  • Reservations required.

CI$92/ US$115 per person
Tour approximately 3-4 hours
Minimum Age: 16 years and under must be accompanied by an adult

*Private Tours available on request

For reservations and more information, contact us today