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Cayman launches program to thin exploding numbers of iguanas

June 22, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) — A rising population of green iguanas on Grand Cayman has become so alarming that that the government has launched a pilot program to figure out how best to fight reptiles that began as escapees from the pet trade.

Fred Burton is a manager at the Cayman Islands’ environment department. He says 18 hunters are using air rifles, nooses and dogs to kill some two tons of invasive green iguanas a day.

But Burton said Wednesday that the scope of the iguana invasion will require a long-term management plan to beat back the reptiles. Their numbers are believed to be doubling every 1 ½ years.

Adults can grow to be several feet (more than a meter) long. With their voracious appetite, the herbivores are taking a big toll on native plants.

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