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Lady Pop Heralds the Start of Blue Iguana Nesting Season

Environment 06 May, 2024 Follow News

Lady Pop Heralds the Start of Blue Iguana Nesting Season

“Lady Pop”, a 33-year-old Caymanian Blue Iguana, has begun excavations for her nest, heralding the start of the nesting season. Lady Pop and her 17-year-old husband, Iggy Stardust, have produced large clutches of eggs in the past, with 22 eggs being laid last year.

The mating season has been active within the Blue Iguana Conservation (BIC) facility and in the wild populations. For the health of the species, Iguanas in the facility are carefully paired according to their genetics under the instruction of long-time geneticist Tandora Del Grant. The wild population’s mating is based on male dominance and BIC staff have been busy rehabilitating those injured in the fray. One of the facility’s most beloved iguanas, “Forrest,” was injured during a territorial dispute, but thankfully, after a stay at the veterinarian’s, he is recovering quickly.

Due in part to the program’s success, nest digging is creating its own set of issues within the Botanic Park as the Children’s Area is favoured by some of the free-roaming ladies. The iguanas’ natural need to protect the nest can lead to confrontations but BIC staff are working to help them find more suitable nest locations. Wild roaming females from the Salina and Colliers Reserves are also being reported crossing the Queen’s Highway and East End Road to find sandy nesting locations near the sea. Motorists are asked to keep a close eye out for them and additional warning signs have been placed to remind drivers in the area.

The Blue Iguana Conservation facility is fully occupied and releases will soon take place to make room for the new hatchlings. This effort will include 2-year-old participants in the Head Start program in which iguanas are raised to a size that gives them the best chance of survival against native and introduced predators. It will also include some of the larger and older animals who have done their stint in the breeding program, keeping the genetic dynamics maintained.

The world will celebrate International Blue Iguana Day on Wednesday, May 8th to be commemorated at a Blue Iguana Family Fun Day at the Blue Iguana Conservation facility located at the Botanic Park on Sunday, May 5th, from 10:00am-4:00pm. This family-friendly event will offer an opportunity to feed the blue iguanas, learn more about our iconic blues, free tours at the Blue Iguana Conservation facility, amazing photo opportunities, and kids can enjoy being an ‘Iguana Scientist’ for the day. The event will also include special guest speaker Ian Redmond, OBE, wildlife biologist and conservationist, renowned for his work with apes and elephants. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event at the Visitor Centre at the Botanic Park, Adults $10, Children $5.

The Blue Iguana Conservation program was started in 1990 to prevent the extinction of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana. This beautiful reptile has become an iconic symbol of these islands with its likeness being used in almost every way imaginable, from our driver’s licenses to tourism advertising. The program is highly dependent on the support of the community, so please come out and celebrate with us on Blue Iguana Family Day!

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