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Florida authorities beg locals to slaughter invading iguanas

Florida authorities beg locals to slaughter invading iguanas

Postby smix » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:31 am

Florida authorities beg locals to slaughter invading iguanas
New York Post

URL: https://nypost.com/2019/07/03/florida-a ... g-iguanas/
Category: Animals
Published: July 3, 2019

Description: Green iguanas are crawling rampant in Florida — so much so that authorities are urging locals to kill the reptiles “whenever possible.” The critters are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species because of the damage they can inflict on seawalls, sidewalks and landscape plants, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Extended warm spells in the Sunshine State — like the current one, in which temperatures only dipped below 50 degrees in Miami once over the past 18 months — are helping the iguana population to thrive, according to experts. “As the climate changes, even slightly, they can be established into Florida counties beyond their present distribution,” Joseph Wasilewski, part of a group of University of Florida scientists who study wildlife in the Sunshine State and the Caribbean, told ABC News. But Floridians bothered by the surge of the creatures on their property can feel free to take matters into their own hands, the wildlife agency said in a statement posted to its website. “This species is not protected in Florida [except] by anti-cruelty law,” the statement said. “Homeowners do not need a permit to kill iguanas on their own property, and the FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible. Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida.” Wasilewski told the network that the iguana outbreak is “a serious problem from many standpoints.” “They will destroy agriculture, undermine roads, cause electrical transformers to fail, they can transmit salmonella and can be an FAA safety hazard,” he said. Zoologist Rob Magill, of Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, told the outlet that “iguanas have proliferated with such intensity in Southern Florida that they are now a common sight from the suburbs into the city.” More than 3,000 green iguanas have been spotted in Southeast Florida alone since 2005, when the Center for Invasive Species began tracking them, according to the report. Full-size male green iguanas can grow to more than 5 feet long and weigh up to 17 pounds, the wildlife commission said. Females can lay up to 76 eggs per year. Although it’s OK to kill iguanas in Florida, it all comes down to how you do it, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported back in February. The general guideline is to kill them instantly and without any suffering. It’s OK to hit an iguana on the head with a shovel, as long as it’s killed with the first stroke. If you hit it more than once, you could be charged with a crime, the paper advised. Air pellet guns can be used, unless you live in a city that forbids them. Freezing, drowning and poisoning are all not permitted, because they cause iguanas pain. Eating the reptiles could prove an efficient way to keep their population down, Magill told ABC. “In Central America, iguana is considered a delicacy and there are actually farms that raise them for meat,” he said. “If that sentiment could take hold here, the desire for cheap and tasty protein could play a significant role in controlling their numbers.” The need to kill the iguanas is bittersweet, added Wasilewski, who has studied them for 40 years. “It saddens me that all of these magnificent animals, along with multitudes of other invasive reptile species, have to be put down,” he told the network. “There is no alternative for the problems.”
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