About twelve months into the nationwide culling effort, there is a definite reduction in the green iguana population. There are very few sightings of the creatures in wide open public spaces; especially compared to the norm before the cull started. Residents can confidently park under trees without the fear of returning to find their car covered in iguana excrement. Homeowners can be more at ease in the belief that their precious flowering plants will not be decimated by these four-legged reptiles. Parents can worry less about their child’s favorite sand spot being dug up by laying females. There are positive results of the cull evident across the island; for sure.
Now, when the cull began last October, the plan was clearly laid out on paper. The iguana-reducing exercise was going to last for fourteen months, until the end of 2019. Additionally, at that time, due to their extensive research and analysis, the Department of Environment stated that the total number of green iguanas needed to be removed from the environment was 1.3 million. The government had put aside sufficient funds to compensate the cullers; and specific monthly target objectives were given to each. These pre-set quotas were individually set, and agreed to by the culling participants, and the DOE made careful calculations to ensure that the number of cullers could accomplish the lofty target goal.
However, things don’t always go as planned, and even with a robust start to the campaign, the culling totals began to fall behind desired numbers. There were several different factors which attributed to this. First, as the first wave of iguanas were taken, those that were out in droves in the easily accessible areas, the cullers had to go into more challenging terrain to find their prey. Secondly, the DOE reported that there were some registered cullers who had not met their monthly quotas of iguanas; and even some who had not yet turned in one single catch. That second factor caused the call for more to join the ranks as DOE ended up holding two subsequent registration drives for additional cullers.
As of October 10, 2019, the DOE reports that the overall cull total is 973,316 green iguanas. For even the lay person, it should be easy to see that it is very likely the goal of 1.3 million will not be reached by the end of 2019. That is unless somehow the registered iguana removal specialists manage to eliminate more than 300, 000 of them in the remaining months of this year.
The question remains then; what will the Department of Environment decide to do if the start of 2020 finds them still short of the 1.3 million goal? Will there be an extension of time given to the cullers? Or will the effort end there? Based on how prolific this species is at breeding and multiplying, it appears that perhaps cutting the cull short of the goal would allow for the population to take hold again, and we might find ourselves right back where we were before. Granted, the DOE is the organization that has the experts onboard. Mr. Fred Burton is undoubtedly an accomplished scientist; and his compatriots are competent as well. Whatever they decide should be the best decision for this country. We will wait to see what that decision will be.