Living in Florida is like living in a real-world Jurassic Park.
Prehistoric reptiles like alligators lurk in lush tropical swamps and backwaters, hidden by plants that look like they belong in a jungle.
This brutal environment is the perfect environment for the invasive green iguana.
Capable of growing as long as five feet, these lizards first stormed the Sunshine State in the 1960s, and the population soon spiraled out of control.
Iguanas are only contained by the cold weather outside of south Florida.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the iguanas pose more problems than just competition with local wildlife.
“Some green iguanas cause damage to infrastructure by digging burrows that erode and collapse sidewalks, foundations, seawalls, berms and canal banks,” an information page posted by the commission reads.
“As is the case with other reptiles,” the page later continues, “green iguanas can also transmit the infectious bacterium Salmonella to humans through contact with water or surfaces contaminated by their feces.”
In summary, we have a lizard longer than the average child that’s able to undermine human structures and spread a particularly nasty strain of infectious bacteria. How did Florida want its residents to handle this nightmare?
An archived version of the state’s directive reveals that the commission urged citizens to kill the creatures “whenever possible.”
“Homeowners do not need a permit to kill iguanas on their own property, and the FWC encourages homeowners to humanely kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible,” the directive read.
“Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida.”
The state was eventually forced to walk back its wording after fears of state-sanctioned bands of iguana-killing vigilantes began to surface.
“Unfortunately, the message has been conveyed that we are asking the public to just go out there and shoot them up,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said in a statement, according to the Herald Tribune.
“This is not what we are about, this is not the wild west. If you are not capable of safely removing iguanas from your property, please seek assistance from professionals who do this for a living.”
Although it’s unclear if any incident sparked this reversal, it may have had something to do with a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“If the commission insists on the slaughter of green iguanas and pythons by largely inexperienced and untrained members of the public,” a letter from PETA read, “it has an ethical duty to inform them of the unique physiology of reptiles that requires immediate destruction of the brain in order to avoid prolonged survival and suffering.”
Florida, which already has a major problem with invasive species, shouldn’t allow the green iguana to flourish at the expense of local animals.
PETA and other leftist organizations don’t have a fix for this — but educated American hunters do.
Florida’s government needs to unapolagetically unleash them if it want the state to ever be green iguana-free.
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