September 18, 2020

Another Brac Rock Iguana killed by a car

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Following our story “Cayman Islands largest Brac Rock Iguana killed by car” that appeared in iNews Cayman on June 19th there has been a similar incident involving another endangered Brac Rock Iguana known as “Little Girl”.

Little Girl was run over and killed by a car on Monday (26).

Little Girl featured heavily in three chapters of a book called “Quest on the Marl Road” that we serialised last year in our PDF and printed edition.

Here is an excerpt from the book when the two heroes, Lenny and Sarge, two crabs, meet Little Girl for the first time:

There was, however, a strange caustic odor coming from the ground. It was then that they spotted their first Brac Rock Iguana.   This one didn’t fit the description of the King.  It was a female who took no notice of them.  Apparently, she was in a frantic state, pacing back and forth.  Sarge turned to Lenny. “Do you think we should go check out what her problem is?”

“Well, she is the first iguana we’ve come across.  Perhaps if we can help her, maybe she’ll guide us to the King.”

“What a champion idea!  Let’s go,” said Sarge. 

The iguana was so upset that she didn’t even see them as they came upon her.  Lenny and Sarge tried to hail her several times to catch her attention.  Finally, she looked up at the odd pair.  With despair on her face, she asked, “Can you help me find my nest?  I think they may have all been cooked in the fire!”

“Fire?” Sarge asked in astonishment. 

“Yes.   Humans had cleared this area, so I thought it would be the best place to lay my first clutch of eggs.  I found such nice ground to dig in after they cleared it.  I finally left for a short while to get something to eat.  When I returned, they had burned everything!  I can’t find my nest anywhere!”  She cried out in desperation and continued, “Oh, Queen Isabel warned me to be careful about choosing my nest site.  I never should’ve trusted those Humans.  I don’t understand why they would do such a thing. My poor babies!”

You probably didn’t know but Little Girl actually was a living iguana that the author of the book, Kathleen Bodden-Harris, had befriended and was like a child to her.

Understandably, Kathleen (or Kat to her friends) is very upset and also very angry.

When she spoke to us just after discovering her dead pet she was crying and said she had sent us an email for publication. At her request we have taken out all the names of persons she has mentioned.

Dear iNews Cayman

I’m trying to get through this email without breaking down.  I’ve gone through my entire list of email addresses of anyone who possibly might ‘give a darn’ about our Brac Rock Iguanas in Cayman Brac.  We had this BIG meeting in Little Cayman over a year ago, volunteers appointed, game strategy put together, big name scientists and organisations and government offices came together.  To this date, all that’s been accomplished in the Brac is an inventory/tagging so we know how many dead/alive ones we have/had.

In 2010, I put together a petition, had it signed by about 20+ people then met with an MLA and a senior police officer at the time.  Supposedly, it was given to the Legislative Assembly and died on a table somewhere.  After our inventory, I tried to resurrect the petition again and met with another police officer who went over the old one, helped me revise it & strongly suggested it be sent to the highest level-the premier.

The revised document went to the Cayman Brac National Trust Committee.  I asked each person to read and sign it.  I returned with a page that had the same amount of ink as when it went there.  Again, dead on the table.

I decided to make it a one woman campaign, of which I was just going to take it on myself as a South Side Cayman Brac resident fed up with the slaughter of our endangered iguanas.  The revised document I have is a petition. So if anyone gives a darn, they can read it and pass it along.

Today (25), as I’m returning from my morning bike ride, I find “Little Girl” dying in the road.  For those who have not read my book, she is one of the ‘real characters’ made animated to tell her story.  Well, her continued story for book 2 came to an end today.

I’ve had to chase down vehicles that went flying through this heavy iguana territory to tell them to slow down.  Just last week, a construction site that’s obliterated a large nesting area just west of my property, had a driver flying past me on the street.  What makes it worse is that a police car passed in the opposite direction and didn’t even bother to pull this guy over.  I happened to run across the person and told him to slow down, especially in the area now with nesting/mating iguanas.  Also the Seagrape trees are blooming, so they’ll be crossing even more to eat their favourite food.

************ showed up to collect Little Girl and there’s a ************ [“problem”] between the Department of Environment (DoE), who are in charge of iguanas and ************, so they won’t talk to [each other].

I called DoE to report the death and ask why after one year the only accomplishment is an inventory of iguana numbers.  I told DoE about my petition (of course DoE’s never seen it) which specifies the areas we’re looking for speed bumps and other traffic control devices and I’m told to ‘Shut Up & listen!’  I believe this person is by definition a ‘Civil Servant’.  First of all nothing concrete is being done, then secondly I’m being addressed rudely, then DoE hangs up on me, when I tell DOE it’s only making me madder.

I truly didn’t think I was living in a third world nation, but I’m thinking something’s seriously wrong here.

Kat

When we spoke to Kat further she said, “We need proper signage, speed bumps, law enforcement, speed cameras, the Conservation Law passed, land management planning & education!!!”

The signage that we talked about in our previous story comprises only four signs and according to Kat do “precious little” in educating any motorist to slow down.

I leave you with the final words Little Girl says in Kat’s book:

“Farewell, my friends,” Little Girl said.  “I am placing my hopes and dreams in your capable claws……..”

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