(CMR) Blue Iguana Conservation (BIC) is launching the new Strategic Species Action Plan (SSAP) 2021-2026, a document that outlines all necessary objectives to help conserve Grand Cayman’s most iconic reptile species.
BIC Project manager Luke Harding explains, “Based on the expert evaluation of the best scientific knowledge available to date, this plan presents the current understanding of the challenges for future conservation efforts and the primary actions needed to work towards long-term success.”
BIC said the development of this five-year plan involved the input from on- and off-island project partners whose representatives attended two workshops in 2019 and 2021 and brought together thirty years of research and knowledge for the compilation of this plan.
Despite this being an iconic species and renowned reptile conservation project, the global interest in Grand Cayman’s blue iguanas does not reflect the awareness of their current status or conservation threats.
Premier Wayne Panton has supported this plan, stating, “I am delighted to see such thoughtful strategy behind the future conservation of the blue iguanas. Let us all see this plan as a platform to reaffirm our dedication to this iconic species that is so symbolic of Cayman”.
According to BIC, this action plan builds upon the milestones achieved by dedicated long-term commitments from the project partners since 1991, who saved this species from the brink of extinction and who have brought conservation efforts to this current and crucial tipping point.
“The success of this program has meant that there is, once again, a wild population, enabling a second opportunity to ensure that wild blue iguanas are here for future generations to cherish – but we must act now,” BIC stated.
“A renewed, island-wide commitment is required to achieve the objectives, mitigate the emerging threats and provide the required funding to support the efforts outlined in this plan, all of which will guarantee that the project’s remarkable history will not have been in vain.”
Project Founder, Frederic J. Burton stated, “Let’s not make any mistake – we’ve got them from next to nothing to about 1,000 in the wild. We bought them time, but until we solve the main causes of their original decline, we can’t say we have saved them”.