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A green tsunami has come to our farm and it is unstoppable

In the last episode of What was it that she is doing with the green iguana? I mentioned that we survived the storm, Karen, that we observed iguanas in on our camera traps and that we hoped to start planting in Gurabo. Well as usual, nothing turns out how we expect it to. This is why I left you all in suspended animation, with no new post, because I had no idea how I was going to put out all these small fires that kept popping up. Here I'll tell you about what happened in Juana Diaz and in a future post I'll update you on whats's going on in Gurabo.

As you may have seen in a previous post, I am doing an experiment to measure the yield of lettuce and cucumber in the presence of green iguana under three treatments. Skip this bit if you already know that one of the treatments is a control ( we don't do anything to stop iguanas), a pesticide (treating plants with Neem so they have a bad taste) and a mesh fence (to exclude them from accessing the plants). If I would have had to bet (or hypothesize) which of the treatments would be infallible, I would have bet on the mesh. But, as always, nothing is as one thinks, and green iguanas are unstoppable.

green iguana stuck in a fence
One of the green iguanas that broke-in to the planting areas surrounded by mesh fence. Here you can see the lizards, resigned to the fact that it can't escape. But please don't worry, I rescued it.

In total, I removed 5 green iguanas trapped in the mesh fence. After the first iguana arrived, they just kept on coming like a green tide. A hungry tsunami, ready to eat some cucumber. In the video below, you can see two that were not able to escape and that were later rescued by the heroic personnel of the Juana Diaz experimental station.

Maybe if the lizards would have been calmer, they would have been able to escape. But with such giant, and fierce humans like me, the panic must have overtaken them.

I removed some of the iguanas myself. I'm smiling, but actually I'm quite worried about the fact that they got into the mesh area!

Do you remember our resident beagle, Yaya? She was also quite attentive, watching to see if she could play with the iguana that was caught in the fence. I had to make and effort so that she wouldn't play with the green iguana, although after we left the farm we can't say for sure what happened.

Although the green iguanas entering the exclusion zone isn't ideal, at least we only started to observe them during and after the harvest. Yes, you read correctly, we HARVESTED!

When we started harvesting, these colleagues work so hard that they don't even stop for the photo

Thanks to Frankie and Abraham, we harvested all the lettuce and cucumbers in a day. These are awesome dudes, they harvested, marked and weighed all of the fruits from each of the plots with me. They are top quality scientific assistants. They always do detailed work and are understanding (I am quite rigorous about methodology). They don't know how grateful I am and how grateful I will always be.

Here is Abraham holding one of the boxes that has been labeled to keep track of the yield of each treatment. That scaled is quite heavy, and this champion carried it all over the field site. Thank you!

In the end we collected 6 boxes of cucumber and at least double that amount of lettuce. It was a day that was deeply satisfying, since it marked the halfway point of our experiment. We have just about finished our work in Juana Diaz and now we just have to work in Gurabo. Well I mean, that's a Pandora's box.

While I get ready to tell you all everything that has happened in Gurabo, I'll use this moment to thank all of you for going through this with me. I am optimistic thanks to your words of support, your messages and everything you do in solidarity with this project.

See you soon!


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