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Fight on to curb iguana invasion

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 6:00 AM

GEORGE TOWN (AP):

A rising population of green iguanas on Grand Cayman has become so alarming that the government has launched a pilot programme to figure out how best to fight the reptiles that began as escapees from the pet trade.

Fred Burton is a manager at the Cayman Islands' environment department. He says 18 hunters are using air rifles, nooses and dogs to kill some two tons of invasive green iguanas a day.

But Burton said yesterday that the scope of the iguana invasion will require a long-term management plan to beat back the reptiles. Their numbers are believed to be doubling every 11/2 years.

Adults can grow to be several feet (more than a metre) long. With their voracious appetite, the herbivores are taking a big toll on native plants.