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.

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

Closure Notice

Please note the Blue Iguana facility will be closed for public tours on Wednesday, 2 October 2019 to facilitate green iguana culling at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Tours will resume on Thursday, 3 October.

BLUE IGUANA TOUR

Tours-Blue-Iguana
Mondays to Saturdays, 10:00am and 11:00am

CI$20 (US$25) for adults
CI$10 (US$12.50) for children (5-12 years old)
Children 5 and under free of charge

Admission includes entrance to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Tickets available at the Botanic Park Visitors Centre
Reservations not required

For more information, contact us today

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