Florida commissioner suggests putting bounties on invasive iguanas: ‘Dead or alive’

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A Miami Beach city commissioner proposed putting a bounty on invasive iguanas that are running rampant along Florida’s Atlantic Coast

“I do think we have one solution and that is to put a bounty on the iguanas and pay people for bring in iguanas,” Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Gonzalez said Wednesday at a council meeting. 

“Dead or alive – if we pay per iguana, we’re going to get more iguanas. People are going to go out and hunt them for money.” 

Ivan Edwards brings his catch back to the boat after shooting it along a river in south Florida on Feb. 11, 2022. 

Ivan Edwards brings his catch back to the boat after shooting it along a river in south Florida on Feb. 11, 2022.  (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Iguanas, which don’t have any natural predators in Florida, have multiplied in record numbers in recent years. They are most concentrated along the southern tip of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, from Broward to Palm Beach County. 

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“Iguanas can cause damage to the residential and commercial landscape and vegetation and threaten our native and endangered species such as Florida Tree Snails, Miami Blue Butterflies, and the Burrowing Owl,” the agenda for Wednesday’s city council said. 

“They can also transmit the infectious bacterium Salmonella to humans through contact with water or surfaces contaminated by their feces.”

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The Miami Beach City Council is considering contracting with an outside iguana removal service, but Gonzalez suggested that the bounty program could be more effective. 

“I think that’s the better use of our money than hiring some guy with a raccoon cap, five guys with raccoon caps that are going to go around to the public properties,” she said. 

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