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Strategic Land Purchase

A healthy specimen of the  endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana

Thanks to willing landowners, and the Trust's European Union EDF9 grant supplemented by a grant to the Trust by Maples FS, a strategic land purchase for the Salina Reserve has just been completed.

Originally deeded to the National Trust by the Cayman Islands Government, the Salina Reserve has always had a less-than-ideal northern boundary, because of a privately owned piece of land situated almost entirely inside the Reserve. It divided the dry shrubland in that area, which is key habitat for the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana.

This parcel has now been purchased by the Trust and has become an integral part of the Salina Reserve.

"The importance of this land goes beyond the direct conservation value of the 23 acres involved" says Fred Burton, Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. "The purchase has unlocked a previously blocked fragment of habitat, which together with the new parcel now almost doubles the area of shrubland available here for the Blue Iguanas to recolonize."

The European Union grant to the Trust is part of a project "Management of Protected Areas to Support Sustainable Economies," shared with the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. In Grand Cayman it is being implemented jointly by the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, the National Trust, and the Department of Environment. The grant includes some funds for land purchase for Blue Iguana habitat, in addition to development of nature tourism and education infrastructure and programmes in the new Colliers Wilderness Reserve, which is also becoming a key home to the Blue Iguanas.

The Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica commented that the EU was pleased to be able to contribute to the preservation of the Blue Iguana, an interesting and threatened species, through the extension of its habitat. "Biodiversity is essential for the survival of mankind", he said " Each of us have to do what we can to ensure that species, such as the Blue Iguana, survive and are there for our children and grandchildren. This is a practical example of the support that the EU gives and I would like to congratulate the Cayman Islands National Trust for their hard work that has brought this extension of the Salina Reserve."

In a fortunate coincidence of timing, the landowners approached the Trust with a view to selling, near the time that the Trust took receipt of the first tranche of the EU grant. With support from the project's Technical Assistant (based in TCI) and the EU Delegation in Kingston, Jamaica, the necessary procedures and approvals were completed in good time, and the purchase documents were signed on 14th September, 2011.

For more information contact:

National Trust for the Cayman Islands - Paul Watler, Paul Watler

Blue Iguana Recovery Programme - Frederic J Burton, Fred Burton

Cayman Islands Department of Environment - Mat Cottam, Mat Cottam

European Union Delegation, Kingston - Marlene Lamonth, Marlene Lamonth