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'Dead or alive': Miami Beach commissioner proposes placing bounty on invasive iguanas

Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered invasive because of their impact on native wildlife, FWC explains.
Credit: FWC photo by Carol Lyn Parrish

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Iguanas — we've all heard of them, but did you know they are an invasive species in Florida? And not only that, but they can also damage properties.

Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered invasive because of their impact on native wildlife, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission explains. And residents in Miami Beach are feeling those impacts.

During a city commission meeting, Commissioner Krist Rosen Gonzalez pitched the idea of putting a bounty out on the reptiles found around the city to help motivate people to help with the growing problem.

“I don’t know — dead or alive. But if we pay per iguana, we’re going to get more iguanas,” she said during the meeting. “People are going to go out and hunt them for money. So I think that’s a better use of our money...”

While discussing it back and forth with members of the committee, some agreed that it could actually work.

"If we don't do something and take action seriously, every single day these iguanas are multiplying," Gonzalez said.

Local 10 reports an ad-hoc committee is in the works to "look into best practices and competitive bids for removal services have been requested."

And how exactly do the iguana's damage properties? Miami Beach resident Barbara Benis says she had to rebuild her sea wall after the reptiles destroyed it, the media outlet explains.

Wildlife Removal Services says some of the green iguanas can damage infrastructure "by digging their burrows, which will erode and collapse sidewalks, seawalls, berms, carnal bangs, and foundations."

Green iguanas are not protected in the Sunshine State and can be humanely killed on private property with the permission of the homeowner, according to FWC.

"This species can be captured and humanely killed year-round and without a permit or hunting license on 25 public lands in south Florida," the agency explains.

To watch the full commission meeting, click here. (5:09:00)

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