An invasive green iguana species said to pose an existential threat to indigenous iguanas was captured on Providenciales on January 11 and then euthanized.
Dr Reginald Thomas from Department of Agriculture and Simon Busuttil, Biosecurity Advisor for the Iguana Partnership made the snare after responding to a report of an invasive green iguana in Grace Bay.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Green Iguanas are an invasive species that do not belong in Turks and Caicos.
“They come from Brazil and Central America but have long been popular pets particularly in Florida. Many have escaped or released, and they are now a significant nuisance there,” the Department of Agriculture said, adding that, “From Miami they have spread to many islands in the Caribbean where they have caused millions of dollars' worth of damage.”
The Iguana Partnership, according to the Department of Agriculture, which is funded by the UK Government through its Darwin program is working with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Environment and Coastal resources (DECR) to not only safeguard TCI's endemic Rock Iguana but to prevent the Green Iguana arriving and becoming established across the islands.
According to Busuttil, these animals can grow up to two meters long and become a significant pest, noting that unlike our endemic rock iguanas, they hang around urban areas, hotels and resorts.
“They defecate in swimming pools and on jetties, they get run over and then smell, they dig into banks and under roads and even runways and they hang around restaurants being aggressive and carrying the risk of disease. They destroy agricultural crops,” he warned.
He pointed out that in the event they get established here, agricultural sector would find it even more difficult.
“They destroy the landscape plants and flowers around resorts. They are great climbers and as adults can be up to two metres long. This means they regularly cause power outages. This cost eventually gets passed onto the consumer of course. It is vital we stop these animals becoming established", said Busuttil.
In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture is advising the public it is vital we all work together to stop Green Iguanas becoming established in TCI.
“Everyone can play a part by learning what they look like and immediately reporting any sightings. Should you think you have encountered a Green Iguana, send a photograph of the animal and / or the location where it was seen. You can WhatsApp a location (such as a Google pin) and the photographs to the Green Iguana hotline on +1(649) 344 8296,” the Agriculture Department stated.