Sunday, February 15, 2009

Death in Paradise

The island is home to many types of Iguana species, from small lizards to the large green Iguana (which is getting to be a rarity).  

Since we live in a remote part of the island, we had hoped that we would have more of the green Iguanas on our property, but, alas, they are being hunted to extinction.  We have seen and photographed a few of them but, in general, they are a rare site.  More often than not we see the large black Iguana and another variety which the folks around here refer to as Wooshwillies.

The locals hunt the larger Iguanas for food and their eggs, even though it is illegal.  Of course, everyone says Iguana tastes like chicken, but I hear there really is not much meat on them and the eggs, being from a reptile, are rather rubbery.

My husband and I have a great love for these ancient animals and discourage, in many ways, the hunting of them in and around our property.  The only thing we had not counted on was our newest dog, Desi, who loves to hunt Iguanas.  

Today we had company for lunch and were relaxing on the porch.  All of a sudden there was a commotion on the front lawn and Desi, true to character, was barking up a storm.  He generally barks at everything that moves and every sound he hears, especially in the afternoon.  We finally went down to the front to find he had captured and injured a good-size Iguana and it lay inert on the front lawn.   It was not one of the green Iguanas, but a 2 ½ foot brown/black animal.

We found a bite hole in the top of his head and near one ear.  We assume that  Desi got the animal around the middle and quite possibly did a lot of internal damage.  The Iguana was barely moving although it was still alive.  After about 40 minutes it died.

Desi was reprimanded quite severely and told “No” and shown the dead animal.  We can only hope this will have an effect on him and that he will cease his hunting, but I doubt it.  None of our dogs has ever bothered the Iguanas until Desi - he just has it in his nature for some reason. Since he spent time with several people before we got him, he may have been in training at one time to hunt them.

It is a shame when one of Mother Nature’s creatures die, especially a fully-developed, beautiful specimen such as this when their numbers are decreasing daily.  

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