Updated: Apr 12, 2019
While most people travel to Grand Cayman Island for the beautiful blue beach known as Seven Mile Beach, there is something even more beautiful and blue on Grand Cayman. The blue iguana which resides only on Grand Cayman Island is a conservation success story. At one point the Blue Iguana almost went extinct. In the early 2000s, the species was down to approximately a dozen and became critically endangered. Reasons for its decline varied, but included habitat loss due to the invasive green iguana brought to the island by humans, and feral dogs and cats which roamed the island.
The numbers were critical and Fred Burton a resident of Grand Cayman knew something had to be done. The Blue Iguana Recovery Program (BIRP) was established. Housed at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park, it is essentially a blue iguana head start program with intentions of releasing blue iguanas back to their native habitat. Its thriving. Once a dozen, now estimated that 1000 blue iguanas roam Grand Cayman island.
How does one see a blue iguana? Well of course you never will probably see one roaming the island. They are quite shy. Your best bet is to support the BIRP efforts and take a tour at the botanical garden. For an additional fee you can take a behind the scenes tour to view these incredible animals. When you take the behind the scenes tour, don't expect a state of the art conservation center. Much of the work is taking place on the ground level with volunteers from all over dedicating their time to these conservation efforts. However when it comes to conservation, state of the art is less necessary than a passion and dedication for preservation and conservation.