Did you know? Florida has an iguana problem. Over the past ten years, the population of the lizard, native to Mexico and Central America, has absolutely exploded. To solve the overpopulation crisis, wildlife officials in Florida have begun to smash in the heads of the iguanas. The method is part of a $63,000 research project to devise new and effective ways to keep the iguana population under control.
The herbivorous lizards were introduced to the state as pets. But over time, they escaped and took made the Sunshine State their own. As Gizmodo reports, the iguanas are often spotted munching on plants and flowers in residents’ gardens. The iguanas can also damage sidewalks and seawalls with their burrows. As a result, the reptile is no longer considered to be a pet, but a pest.
According to the Sun Sentinal, conservationists from the University of Florida claim that the smashing in of the iguanas’ heads is a quick and “humane” form of euthanasia. The article reads:
“A 15-member team from the University of Florida is using a tool called a captive bolt gun that sends a bolt into the brain, similar to what is used in the livestock industry. They’re also smashing the creatures’ heads against solid objects, including a truck and boat they’re using to track them down.
‘Most of what we’re doing is blunt force trauma,’ said Jenny Ketterlin, a wildlife biologist and research coordinator with UF. ‘Hitting their head very hard against a solid object.’
Destroying their brains quickly is the most humane way to kill them, she said. Decapitating the animals without anesthesia would kill them but not be considered humane.”
In three months, the team has killed approximately 250 iguanas along a canal in Davie, Florida. Ketterlin says the head-bashing method falls within the bounds of the state’s animal cruelty laws.
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