Saturday 25 February 2012

Puerto Rico plans massacre of invasive iguanas, export of harvested meat (via Herp Digest)

The invasive species outnumber humans on the US Caribbean territory but the local government is drawing up plans for a volunteer force to eradicate the lizards.

Global, News Desk, February 3, 2012 , Puerto Rico has announced plans for a massive cull of an invasive species of iguana and for the sale of harvested meat, according to The Associated Press.

The US territory hopes to eradicate the species with a population of four million, which the AP says outnumbers humans on the island and has long been considered an invasive nuisance.
More from GlobalPost: Coquí llanero, tiny frog, should be endangered species, say U.S. officials
According to the AP, Daniel Galan Kercad, secretary of natural resources, said his agency had been granted permission to draft plans for volunteers to bring the iguanas to a slaughter house which would distribute the meat.

The AP said he claimed the meat was popular in areas with large Asian and Latino populations.
Puerto Rico may not be the only place trying to eradicate pesky herbivorous lizards. Daniel Klein of The Huffington Post wrote yesterday that the city of Boca Grande in Florida "has hired a man to drive around in a golf cart, shooting iguanas." Klein said the Florida Iguana was just one of many invasive species in the US that authorities were encouraging people to hunt and which were increasingly considered for sustainable food dishes.

Despite their plentiful population, iguanas may still be valuable. Reuters reported in June that US Customs and Border Protection agents on the Mexican border had seized 159 pounds of smuggled iguana meat with an estimated value of $4,500.

"There could be a number of reasons but one of the main ones that comes to mind is that there are parts of the world where people do eat iguana meat as a delicacy," Jackie Wasiluk, a spokeswoman, said.

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