About Us
Bat House Map
Sea Turtles
Fungi (etc...)
Press-In The News
Links & Books
Contact Us


Public Awareness Initiatives

Wildlife rescue work puts our volunteers at the interface between the natural world and the human-built environment. Most of the injuries we see are in some way caused by the activities of people. We also receive many "nuisance" animal calls and there are cultural biases against certain species like reptiles and bats. Below are some outreach initiatives and promotions that have helped people and wildlife to share space more amicably. All of these ideas receive ongoing local press coverage and are repeatedly mentioned when opportunities arise. The successful release of any animal is always interesting to the media and we try to keep in the public eye. See the "Press" page for links to some of this media coverage.

Please click on the image to the right to download a copy of this poster about Marine Garbage Kills in PDF format (Adobe's Acrobat Reader).

Download Adobe's Acrobat Reader 


Support the Boobies! - in 2007 "The Little Cayman Ladies Who Dine on Tuesday Nights" produced a topless calendar (discreetly done) to benefit the Red-footed Booby Land Purchase Fund. These are all sold out now, but we salute these brave ladies for their service above and beyond the call of duty! Visit www.piratespointresort.com for more about Little Cayman (Pirate's Point is also a great place to dive and eat!)

In the spring male birds will attack car mirrors and other shiny surfaces because they think their reflection is a competitor. If the problem is persistent a sock or a bag can be placed over the mirror when the car is parked in the offending spot. When birds attach reflective windows on a house, put lights inside windows to reduce reflections or obscure them with mobiles, decals, curtains, screens or whatever seems appropriate to break up the reflection until the nesting season is over. Yellow Warbler – Dendroica petechia (Yellow Bird of the famous Jamaican song)
Photo by Denise Bodden

Birds sometimes fly into glass doors when they can see another window on the other side, either on a corner or across a room. These false “passageways” must be obscured with curtains or other means. We recommend a black vinyl contact-paper sticker shaped like a diving hawk Birdsaver Window DecalsThese decals are designed to place on windows, glass patio doors or any glass area that birds might fly into. Peel and stick these birdsaver decals to reduce the risk of injury or death to birds. We make these ourselves or do them with school children. They can be also ordered from www.earthlygoods.com

Based on a design by Dillon Ripley, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  • Birds fly into windows because:
  • They see a reflection of the sky on the glass
  • They see a passageway between two opposite windows or sliding glass doors
  • They see a short cut where two windows meet at a corner.

HOW TO USE YOUR BIRD-SAVER: Place your BIRD-SAVER sticker on a glass window or sliding glass door to break up reflections. The silhouetted shape will also alert birds to danger because the diving Sparrow Hawk is a natural predator. The higher it is placed on the window, the more effective it will be. Clean the glass before mounting the BIRD-SAVER so it will adhere properly. Mount your BIRD-SAVER in the DIVING position. It works best if placed OUTSIDE the glass.

YOU CAN DO MORE: Bird populations on Grand Cayman have been devastated by Hurricane Ivan. At home and in your workplace make sure that your windows and walls do not reflect the outside environment. Install lattice work, drapes, blinds, tinted film or other window decor, especially if you have large windows opposite each other. Window collisions represent a major threat to our birds: you can help by urging building management to participate in helping to make your offices or condo bird safe.

IF A BIRD HITS YOUR WINDOW: It may be injured or only stunned. Pick it up gently (using gloves or a small towel) and place it in a cardboard box or other secure container. Make sure the bird is sitting upright to aid normal breathing. If the bird is leaning to one side, make a donut-shape “nest” from paper towels or tissue and place the bird in the center so that it stays upright and can’t fall over. Call Wildlife Rescue at 917-BIRD for further instructions and do not handle the bird more than necessary. If the bird “wakes up” and seems alert, you may be able to release it after a short interval. Otherwise it may be necessary for the bird to go to a veterinarian for examination and treatment. All veterinary costs will be covered by the National Trust Wildlife Rescue Fund. Always leave a record with the vet of the exact location where the bird was found.

We do PowerPoint presentations about our work and put up posters with this message and others in schools and public places – We also publish newspaper articles throughout the year publicizing our work, how to reach us and the need to care for injured wildlife.

This baby bird did NOT want to be rescued! Photo by Joanne Ross

Bats entering roof spaces through any small opening is a problem in the Cayman Islands.

Velvety Free-tailed Bats are the usual species found in roof spaces. Photo by Carla Reid

We provide bat houses so that bats removed from roofs have somewhere safe and permanent to go and so they won’t move into another roof. Some bat house have been modified to also have two bird houses. West-Indian Woodpeckers were observed nesting in these boxes after Hurricane Ivan.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Visiting Scientist Ted Fleming shows young Mati Troyer a rare bat species. Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Young Alex Harford and Mati Troyer examine a Soldier Crab on the Mastic Trail. Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Soldier Crabs (also called Hermit Crabs) are suffering a housing shortage. This crab is forced to use a very old and broken shell. A few people are trying to repair and modify broken shells to help them. The problem goes back to over-fishing of the Whelks, whose shells are re-cycled by the crabs and beachcombers picking up shells as souveniers.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

This Soldier Crab made do with bit of PVC pipe, though efforts to provide these bits of pipe as alternative housing were rejected by most crabs.
Photo by Ann Stafford

This Soldier Crab is using a shell that is far too small. Solder Crabs are used for bait and often the shell is broken by fishermen. Beachcombers also carry away shells urgently needed by these crabs – who must find their shells and can’t grow their own.
Photo by Ross Wrangham

Land Crabs must go to the sea to spawn. They often become waylaid by human constructions. Photo by Sonny Rivers

Thousands or even millions of land crabs have been killed by cars as they try to reach the sea to spawn and then return across the roads again to their inland habitats. Culverts could avert this problem and allow water drainage as well during storms.
Photo: Courtney Platt & Denise Bodden www.courtneyplatt.com

Land Crabs dig small holes in lawns along the coast. Because they eat the roots of some plants, people drop poison pellets down the holes. This poses a threat to a wonderful shoreline bird we call a “Crabcatcher” – or Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea – Still common on Cayman Brac where crab poison isn’t used, but increasingly rare on Grand Cayman.


Cayman Islands snakes and other reptiles are benign and beneficial. For more on Cayman's reptiles see chart on the Wildlife page

Frogs are gentle, benign local animals that often share our gardens or can be found on lighted walls at night hunting insects.
Photo: Courtney Platt www.courtneyplatt.com

This Frog looks silver from absorbing the first rain after a long drought. Photo: Lois Blumenthal

Cayman has only three kinds of native snakes and they are all non-poisonous. Each island has it’s own subspecies. This Racer Snake helps to control mice and rats around homes and poses no threat to humans or pets. Snakes here are never dangerous in any way and should be left alone to live their lives in peace.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Fred Burton admires a rarely seen Cayman Water Snake. Photo by Courtney Platt www.courtneyplatt.com

Pygmy Boas being released on the Mastic Trail. These three snakes were pets but the owner left the island and turned them over to us. They commonly live in logs and rotting wood so we took them on to National Trust property on the Mastic Trail and released them into a hollow fallen tree. While in their aquarium, these snakes were quiet and lethargic, but when they smelled the wet wild wood they pepped up, their nostrils flared and they became extremely active and excited. They disappeared instantly into the forest.
Photo by Courtney Platt

Joey Ebanks helping to release the Ground Boas - Photo by Courtney Platt

Bodden Town Primary School children made tile signs for our Lizard Palaces. A Lizard Palace is just a pile of rocks – but along the coast you can build it and they will come. Always control housecats if you plan to attract lizards to your garden.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Lion Lizard enjoying his palace. Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Lion Lizards live in near the shores and can be tamed by offering them scrambled eggs or cheese. They are harmless garden animals, but susceptible to predation by feral or unsupervised cats.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

No animal is unimportant to us! – We distribute information explaining to cat and dog owners the importance of controlling their pet’s activities outdoors. Cayman Islands’ wildlife evolved without native predators, and so our smaller island creatures are unequipped to escape from hunting domesticated animals.
Photo by Sonny Rivers

Another beautiful local lizard. Photo by Dorothea Schwab

Ground Gecko – sometimes called a Wood Lizard. Photo by Denise Bodden

Small lizards abound in the garden, adding life and interest as well as controlling insects. It is important for small island ecosystems that introduced predators like cats and dogs be under the owners control at all times and not be allowed to hunt small native animals.
Photo by Dorothea Schwab

Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga ani - locally called "Old Arnold – These look like a black parrot and we often receive inquires about them. Birds of the Cayman Islands by Patricia Bradley says "...An unusual member of the cuckoo family - weak laboured flight, tail often thrown over back on landing, perches with wings drooped; noisy and gregarious, foraging in flocks of 5 to 8 or more, climbing clumsily over shrubbery and through grass in search of insects, frequently toppling over when wings get caught. Breeds throughout the year, rough nests, single pairs with clutch of 2 to 8 and communal nest with a clutch of up to 17. Common on all three islands.

This is one of our favorite birds - very clownish and seemingly quite indecisive! - When feeding along roadsides, it will panic and start to run across the road when a car approaches - then suddenly seem to change it's mind and turn around in the middle of the road and run the other way - doesn't seem to occur to it to fly! - - Sometimes they follow lawnmowers to eat the insects stirred up by the blades. On the nastier side, we often get young ones to raise in the Wildlife Rehab Center because they will toss each other's chicks out of the communal nest and people find the flailing chicks on the ground!
Photo by Sonny Rivers

Greater Antillean Grackle Quiscalus niger Locally called a “Ching ching” – Very common and often seen begging at outdoor restaurants and picnic areas.
Photo by Sonny Rivers

Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita locally called Pea Dove. – In the wild, where they belong. Ground Doves are similar and are often brought in with injuries.
Photo by Lois Blumenthal

Green Heron Butorides virescens – Healthy and in the wild as he should be! Photo by Colin Sherrit

Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus Extinct on Grand Cayman but still found on Cayman Brac. This one, photographed by Tansy Maki on Cayman Brac has a thickened leg but was quite active and seemed otherwise healthy.
Photo by Tansy Maki

< back to publications page >