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Sint Maarten Taking Steps To Counter Effects Of Invasive Green Iguana


PHILLIPSBURG — The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has embarked on a strategic partnership with the Caribbean Amerindian Organization to come to solutions for some of the invasive species issues facing St. Maarten, particularly as it pertains to the invasive green iguana.

Since its introduction that particular species of Iguana has caused the extinction of the local Lesser Antillean Iguana and has since overrun the island and has become a nuisance.

“We have the honor and a pleasure of working with the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (Cado) in addressing some of the environmental issues we commonly share. Indigenous Amerindian knowledge, wisdom which comes from thousands of years of close spiritual contact with the land and sea, is crucial in understanding our environment on the island, in the wider Caribbean and in the Americas,” Nature Foundation manager Tadzio Bervoets said in a press statement.

“The first project we have embarked upon is a program to investigate and come to a solution regarding the prevalence of invasive iguanas on St. Maarten. These animals have been affecting local vegetation and have become a nuisance. Through working with indigenous peoples from the Americas, together with our own scientific research, we hope to come to a management of the invasive species.”

“Our strategic partnership with the Nature Foundation of Sint Maarten is the only one with a wildlife foundation in the Caribbean, because it is the most active one in the entire region,” said Damon Corrie, Cado’s director and founder.

There is a second reason for the partnership [too: “Because human rights are part and parcel of the rest of the natural world,” Corrie said. “And whatever concerns the flora and fauna of the Caribbean also concerns the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean who were the first human custodians and beneficiaries of it.”

The Nature Foundation is asking the public to contact it if they have significant issues with invasive iguanas on their property. Call  011 721 544 4267 or email to

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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