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Cayman Islands exports Iguana meat to US

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CMC) — The Cayman Islands has shipped over two hundred pounds of iguana meat to the United States, a move that the private sector says could help in tackling the problems posed by the invasive species.

The meat of the green iguana was recently shipped by the company Spinion Limited, to its subsidiary in the United States, to be processed for sale online.

“Currently the export is for human consumption. Once we get the dog food and dog treats going, we will be able to take field-slaughtered animals; then we would be talking about 2,000 pounds per week,” said Maria Yapelli, one of the founders of the business.

Concerning processing iguana meat for dog food, she said this would require investment in research and development, but could be an avenue for the Cayman Islands to make a profit by getting rid of its unwanted iguanas.

“If we want to get big numbers of iguanas off this island, we need to get the dog food and dog treats going. If the government here would be willing to help us develop that, it could be a win-win,” she told the Cayman Compass.

She said company aims to start on a small scale, targeting a niche food market in the United States and hopes to generate a strong enough customer base to ship 500 pounds of iguana each week— equivalent to about 200 iguanas.

Environmental officials say 14,000 iguanas need to be killed in order to make an impact on the invasive species.

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