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Iguanas running amok prompt Palm Beach County to push for crackdown
By JENNIFER SORENTRUE
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County commissioners heard firsthand testimony Tuesday about the growing menace of iguanas gone wild.
In fact, the testimony came from two of the commissioners.
A 2 1/2-foot iguana rests on a rock along a canal in Boca
Commissioner Jeff Koons said a 5-foot iguana has taken up residence in his daughter's back yard.
"It is swimming in the pool and sitting on the porch," he said.
And Commissioner Bob Kanjian said he faced down dozens of iguanas when he played golf recently in Lake Worth.
"I had 25 to 30 iguanas staring at me," he said.
Those harrowing accounts helped move their colleagues to join a growing anti-iguana ement, agreeing that state wildlife regulators might need to do more to keep irresponsible pet owners from dumping the large reptiles and allowing them to overrun neighborhoods.
A Fort Lauderdale-based animal-rights group asked commissioners last week to push the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to add green iguanas to its list of "reptiles of concern."
The designation would force iguana owners to have identifying microchips implanted in their pets. That would allow state investigators to trace the reptiles' ownership should they get loose or be released illegally.
Owners also would be required to get a $100-a-year permit to have an iguana.
Similar rules took effect this year for owners of pythons and anacondas.
At the request of Commissioner Mary McCarty, who has pushed the county to ban the sale of iguanas, the board agreed it would consider a resolution urging state officials to add the reptiles to the list. The issue will be discussed at a future meeting.
At least one Broward city, Pompano Beach, has approved a similar resolution. More could follow suit.
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida has sent letters to cities and counties across South Florida urging them to back the designation. The group says it would reduce the number of iguanas purchased on impulse.
Iguanas, which often damage sidewalks and sea walls, are "the subject of frequent complaints by residents and governments," said Nick Atwood, the foundation's campaigns coordinator. "If Florida took a step to restrict the sale of these iguanas, that could only have a positive step."
Kanjian, however, said he had concerns about requiring microchips for iguanas.
The state's "reptiles of concern" requirements took effect in January to help control the number of dangerous reptiles sold statewide. Five types of snakes and the Nile monitor lizard are on the list.
So far, the designation has been successful in reducing impulse purchases of pythons, according to the fish and wildlife commission.
But Scott Hardin, the wildlife commission's exotic-species coordinator, said efforts to restrict the sale of iguanas would have no effect on South Florida's population.
"There is nothing we could do in terms of restricting the sale that is going to hold a candle to what is out there reproducing already in the wild," Hardin said. "If we dried up every pet store tomorrow, people wouldn't see any difference."
Other reptiles on the list can be dangerous to humans and other wildlife, he said.
Iguanas eat plants. They thrive on plentiful hibiscus, Hardin said.
"I think eradication is out of the question," he said. "The habitat in South Florida is just ideal."
The law took effect last week.
Jun 20, 2008 9:03 AM
How 'bout some soup, smoked iguana, iguana jerky or iguana sausage?
Sopi Di Yuwana (Iguana Soup)
1 1/2 quarts of iguana broth (or chicken broth)
2 Chicken bouillon cubes
1 Clove of garlic
1 Tomato, coarsely chopped
1 Onion, studded with 3 cloves
1 Green Pepper, quartered
1/4 small Cabbage
1 tsp Cumin
1 dash Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
2 oz Vermicelli
Kill, clean, skin and cut the Iguana into serving pieces.
Prepare chicken broth in heavy kettle, add garlic, leek, tomato, onion, green pepper and cabbage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for thirty minutes. Add the iguana, and simmer an additional half hour, or until the meat is tender. Remove from the fire. Strain broth, discarding vegetables. Bone the iguana and set the meat aside.
Return the broth to the fire and add cumin, nutmeg, vermicelli and salt and pepper. Simmer for about five minutes until the vermicelli is tender. Add the iguana and heat thoroughly. Serve piping hot with Funchi (Corn meal mush).
Yield: 6 servings
Jun 19, 2008 12:46 AM |
Iguanas, which often damage sidewalks and sea walls...
does Iguana's damage
even come close to comparing to the tons of deliberate acts, resulting in the very same damage, left by the many cute little families of ducks?
then there are all those invading nuisance flocks of countless seagulls, pigeons,black birds,doves,and even the buzzards. again all of which shamelessly add to the destuction and damage to our public property. OOOOOHH our poor innocent parked cars have to endure that same type of "DAMAGE"!
Then what about the 2 legged, with their blind eye, that walk the 4 legged and ignore our laws that have been "enforced" for a decade or more? let nature have it's course, BUT PICK IT UP! Natures business not picked up, only adds to the DAMAGE and creates THE potential for a nasty health HAZARD. DAMAGE AND HAZARDS ISN'T that what this fuss is all about? rGly
Jun 18, 2008 10:38 PM |
Totally absurd. For a herbivorous reptile already firmly established in the ecosystem. Post a $100 permit on Iguanas and all you will get is the release of all remaining pet iquanas and the remaining pet shop iquanas into the wild to avoid a fine. Absolutely brilliant strategy on the part of our local government !!!!
In addition, noone will attempt to rescue wild iguanas for fear of a fine.
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