Saving the Blues

The Road Back from Extinction

Thursday 19 July 2023: 3pm London / 9am Cayman
Documentary Premier

Event Details

Thursday 29 July 2023
3pm – 4pm London / 9am – 10am Cayman

(eg: short TEDtalk, Voxpops, expert lecture)

Narrator & Host

Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia Representative,
Cayman Islands Government Office, UK

Key Contributions By:
(In order of appearance)

  • Dr Colin P Clubbe
  • Sangeeta Laudus
  • Fred Burton, MBE
  • Dr Niall McCann
  • Dr Jenny Daltry, PhD, FRGS
  • Dillen Douglas
  • Dr Gemma Harper, OBE, FacSS

With Special Appearances By:
(In order of appearance)

  • Leanni Tibbetts
    (Miss World Cayman Islands 2022)
  • Dinara Perera
  • Rickeem Lashley
  • Marisa Miller
  • Dejea Lyons
  • Lilly Haug
  • Zion Bodden
  • Evie Sweetman
  • Chad Powell

Once numbered in the tens of thousands in the UK Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands, by 2001 there were fewer than 30 blue iguanas estimated to be living in the wild and the species was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As a result of the local conservation programme, the blue iguanas were downgraded from the IUCN’s “red list” to endangered in 2012, and in 2018 the 1000th iguana was released into the wild.


Through interviews, remarks, and a panel discussion the one-hour episode will showcase the blue iguana as an “ecosystem engineer”, dispersing seeds and playing a crucial role in the terrestrial ecosystem. Experts will discuss the ongoing challenges to saving the blue iguana and make the case, from a biodiversity perspective, for the importance of preserving planetary species more broadly.

Produced by the Cayman Islands Government Office – UK, “One Planet Insights” is a docu-series that shines the spotlight on the Cayman Islands longstanding history of environmental protection and conservation, as well as exploring the overarching theme of biodiversity and interconnectivity, and understanding how this all fits into the global eco-system. Collectively, the UK Overseas Territories are home to 94 per cent of British endemic species and 90 per cent of the biodiversity for which the UK Government has responsibility.

This documentary is produced by:

In partnership with:

Narrator and Host

Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia

Representative, Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK

The UK representative leads the Cayman Islands Government Office based in London and oversees the staff cohort. The office serves numerous functions to advance the interests of the Government and people of the Cayman Islands.

These include representational duties such as facilitating interactions with elected leaders via Cayman’s All Party Parliamentary Group, and representing the Cayman Islands within the UK Overseas Territories Association; promoting investment in the Cayman Islands; fostering understanding of Cayman’s unique economy, heritage and culture; aiding CIG Ministries with external affairs in the UK, and providing services to Caymanians overseas (primarily students).

Feature Interview

Dr Colin P Clubbe

Senior Research Leader
UK Overseas Territories and Islands
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Dr Colin Clubbe is the head the Conservation Science Department which brings together four key research areas for Kew: Islands with a focus on the UK, UK Overseas Territories and Madagascar; Conservation Assessment and Analysis; Conservation Genetics; and Seed Conservation.

Dr Clubbe is a conservation biologist with wide-ranging interests in biodiversity conservation, especially on Islands and UK Overseas Territories in particular. His research focuses on the study of plant diversity, threats, particularly the impact of invasive species, and developing strategies for conservation management of plant diversity.

Guest Interviewer

Sangeeta Laudus

Senior Advisor, Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK

Sangeeta Laudus has over 25 years’ experience working in the financial and professional services industry in London. A former capital markets lawyer, she now acts as a Strategic Communications Advisor for a number of clients, including the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK, with a particular focus on conservation and the environment. She led on the City of London Corporation’s “Road to COP26” programme and is an ambassador for social enterprise initiatives Rewired Earth and Island Innovation.

Feature Interview

Fred Burton


Fred Burton has lived and worked in the Cayman Islands since 1979 and has led efforts to save the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana from modest beginnings in 1990. Formerly Environmental Programmes Director for the National Trust of the Cayman Islands, he was a key player in establishing the Cayman Islands’ terrestrial protected area system, and worked on conservation of parrots, seabirds, threatened plants, and their habitats.

In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for services in conservation of endangered species. Fred is currently the Manager of the Terrestrial Resources Unit at the Cayman Islands Department of Environment.


Dr Niall McCann

Conservation Director, National Park Rescue

Described by Sir David Attenborough as “a world authority from the frontline”, Niall McCann is a National Geographic Explorer, conservationist and broadcaster, with a particular interest in humankind’s relationship with nature.
Niall is the Conservation Director for National Park Rescue, a direct-action conservation organisation protecting some of the most threatened national parks in Africa, and is co-Chair of the global EndPandemics Alliance. In addition to his day-to-day work in conservation, Niall is an award-winning wildlife TV presenter, and is involved in multiple projects at the nexus between innovative finance and conservation.

Outside of work, Niall is a seasoned adventurer who has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, skied across Greenland and Vatnajokull, cycled over the Himalayas, and been on multiple rock climbing and mountaineering trips around the world. Niall sits on the Expert Advisory Panel for Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, he is a Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society and the Wallacea Trust, an Ambassador for the British Inspiration Trust, Millimetres2Mountains and Smash Life, and is an active member of the Brecon Mountain Rescue team.


Dr Jenny Daltry

Senior Conservation Biologist at Fauna & Flora International

Jenny Daltry chiefly works on ecosystem restoration and endangered species recovery programmes. Though best known for leading programs to save critically threatened reptiles such as Siamese Crocodiles, Antiguan Racers and Union Island Geckos, Dr Daltry has worked on a wide range of conservation issues in tropical Asia and the Caribbean. She is currently employed as the Caribbean

Alliance Director for Re:wild and Fauna & Flora, providing free advice and support to communities, NGOs and government partners throughout the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotpot. Having been directly involved in restoring 30 islands, Jenny has become very interested in how rewilding can strengthen the resilience of people and wildlife to climate change. She has a PhD in herpetology and a knighthood from the Royal Government of Cambodia and is a National Geographic Explorer.

Guest Speaker

Dr Gemma Harper OBE FAcSS

Chief Executive, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

Dr Gemma Harper is Chief Executive of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) – the only statutory nature advisor to all four countries of the UK. JNCC also advises our Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and internationally. Prior to joining JNCC, Gemma was Deputy Director of marine policy in Defra. She was awarded an OBE for services to the marine environment in the New Year Honours 2021. In March 2020, Gemma was temporarily promoted to director to lead Defra’s Food Vulnerability directorate, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.

She co-led the directorate to win the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion ‘Impact on the Citizen’ award. She is a social scientist by training and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Gemma is currently an advisor to the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), and to the UCL-led Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE). Gemma founded and co-chairs the Civil Service Network for Nature (N4N).

The Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK (CIGO) is situated on Dover Street, in the heart of Mayfair, London.

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