Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 15 August 2014

Cat eradication and the restoration of endangered iguanas on Long Cay

Endangered Turks and Caicos rock iguanas (Cyclura carinata) are being displaced on Big Ambergris Cay
by an expansive development project. We chose Long Cay, Caicos Bank, as a relocation site for some iguanas because it: (1) is a large (111 ha), uninhabited, protected reserve, (2) previously supported iguanas but did not have a current population, (3) could support thousands of iguanas, and (4) had no native mammals, few scavenging birds, and no nesting colonies of scavengers. There was a small population of feral cats, well-known iguana predators. To restore the island, we conducted an intensive cat poisoning campaign using sodium monofluoroacetate (1080), in July 1999. In November 1999, a test-group of 25 iguanas was taken from Big Ambergris Cay to Long Cay. Since their successful establishment we have relocated more than 400. The first hatchlings were confirmed in January 2001. Occasional trapping may be necessary to maintain Long Cay free of cats. We have begun patrols and courtesy visits to vessels cruising the area, installed informative and cautionary signs, and produced public service announcements for TV to reinforce the importance of keeping domestic animals away from uninhabited islands.

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