Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Invasive Species Threatening Existence Of Saint Lucia Iguana

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On Monday, the discovery of a pregnant invasive Green Iguana at Cantonment, Vieux Fort, has renewed concern at the Forestry Department that the population of the reptile locally is getting out of control.

 The department is concerned about the threat to the survival of the endemic Saint Lucia iguana since crossbreeding between the two species will result in ‘hybridisation’, eventually wiping out the local species, the scientific name of which is Iguana Sanctaluciae.

The Saint Lucia iguana has been here from time immemorial, typically along the North East Coast, including Dennery.

However, the Forestry Department says that smugglers brought the Green or American iguana to Soufriere as pets in the past few years. 

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The reptiles escaped into the wild and began breeding out of control.

But the situation got worse.

Senior Wildlife Protection Officer Pius Haynes told St Lucia Times that recently, someone translocated the invasive iguana to the Cantonment area of Vieux Fort as pets.

The creatures escaped and began to breed in the wild.

“The same problem we had in Soufriere for years we are now getting these problems in the Vieux Fort area,” Haynes observed.

He explained that the areas in question are Augier, Cantonment, Black Bay, and along the St Jude Highway.

“We can see the implications there. They are already breeding in the wild,multiplying in the Vieux Fort area and that poses a big threat to the conservation of our very own local iguana. There’s a threat of hybridisation if the two iguanas crossbreed and we do not want that to happen,” the Senior Wildlife Officer told St Lucia Times, explaining that the iguana mating season is between February and May.

As a result, the Forestry Department wants Vieux Fort and Soufriere residents to report iguana sightings.

Adult male Saint Lucia iguana

In this way, officials of the department who can distinguish between the invasive and local species can implement measures to control the former population.

Haynes revealed that the two species would be competing for space and food aside from crossbreeding.

According to the Forestry Department official, the invasive Green Iguana reproduces at a prolific rate and has already created a problem in other places like Puerto Rico, Saba, and Anguilla, where people have introduced it.

“We do not want a case where the invasive Green iguana establishes itself all over Saint Lucia. That would not be good at all for endemic conversation,” Haynes stated.

Headline photo: Saint Lucia iguana

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Green iguanas are a delicacy , locally known in Belize as bamboo chicken , they were almost driven to extiction due to over hunting in the past , preferrably just before the pregnant females lay thier eggs , the egg are also eaten along with the stewed meat (problem solved)

  2. “… That would not be good at all for endemic conversation,” Haynes stated.”
    Editorial Staff … please note the difference between “CONSERVATION” and “CONVERSATION”. Great misstep in grammar there.

    Endemic “Conservation” is just what the term implies. Unfortunately, our culture does not heed this very important force of nature. They prefer to mix everything up, and “weh pour cor-yo”.

  3. did anyone see the killer whale they caught in vieux fort ? i wonder whats the story behind this how it was caught and what fisheries has to say about it

  4. I’ve for a long time thought that iguanas in St Lucia was a myth (or that they were already extinct here) because I’ve never seen one in the wild.

    Anyway, the comments are hilarious. I see done good suggestions here on how to address the “problem”.

  5. Welll we have an invasive species of SLP threatening the existence of the little people who do not fall into the fff category and nothing for that. Chupse tun

  6. Hear these people! including the Forestry Department! shouting about outdated white science! Every specie is an invasive specie, including all of us! our ancestors , some of them were not in the Caribbean but brought here. Are we an invasive specie as per white science? fact is animals have been migrating and proliferating across lands and oceans for millennia. We cannot prevent this. Chances are the black iguana came from somewhere at some point. Stop demonising the creatures. As far as I am concerned we have better things to worry about. Offcourse they would cross-bread. They are both iguanas.

    • lol , well phrased to the point. Yes , indeed human creature is invasive and invaded globally without limits. Civilized we are not.

      • lol , well phrased to the point. Yes , indeed human creature is invasive and invaded globally without limits. Civilized we are not. Let the iguana be. As all other creatures they were here first , they will outlive us in terms of evolve.

  7. I think a simple solution to this issue is by educating the local populous on distinguishing between the two Iguanas. In such a case the invasive species would be delt with accordingly on the Grill.

    Admittedly, I haven’t had/taste Iguana but I’m curious to find out whether @Delicious is right with the flavour.

    Individuals are supposed to be held accountable for such actions of releasing what is or was a pet in the wild. The Laws of St. Lucia seriously needs to be revised on all aspects.

  8. Simple solution to our chicken crisis. This thing is as delicious as Lionfish. I wish it was easier to source lionfish here. Iguana tastes like a mixture of duck and rabbit! Bon gou!!!

    Tell us which ones to kill and watch the foreign ones them disappear.

    In Florida people had a feast picking up the frozen ones from the ground. Bar be que after bar be que. Yum yum.

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