Why do they hunt iguana in Florida?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

In Florida, hunting iguanas has become a necessary measure to address the growing problem of invasive species. These reptiles, native to Central and South America, have been introduced to Florida through the pet trade and have established a breeding population in the state. Unfortunately, their presence has had detrimental effects on the local environment, wildlife, and even businesses and homes.

One of the primary reasons why iguana hunting is conducted in Florida is to protect the native wildlife. Iguanas are herbivores and feed on a variety of plants, including fruits, flowers, and leaves. Their voracious appetite can lead to the destruction of vegetation, which in turn disrupts the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Many native species rely on these plants for food and shelter, and the loss of vegetation can have cascading effects on the local wildlife population.

Additionally, iguanas are known to prey on the eggs and hatchlings of native birds, turtles, and other reptiles. The decline of these species can have far-reaching consequences for the overall biodiversity of the region. By hunting and removing iguanas, efforts are made to protect the native wildlife from further harm and maintain the ecological integrity of the area.

Furthermore, the presence of iguanas in Florida has also caused significant economic impacts. These reptiles have a tendency to burrow into the ground, causing damage to infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, and seawalls. They can also enter buildings and homes, causing damage to property and posing health risks due to their droppings. By hunting and reducing the iguana population, local businesses and homeowners can mitigate these damages and avoid costly repairs.

I personally have witnessed the destructive impact of iguanas in Florida. As a fishing guide, I have seen the decline of certain fish populations due to the destruction of their habitats by iguanas. In some areas, the once lush and vibrant mangroves have been decimated, leaving behind barren landscapes. This not only affects the fishing industry but also takes away the natural beauty and charm of Florida’s coastal regions.

To combat the iguana invasion, guided hunts have been organized by iOutdoor, a company dedicated to preserving the natural Florida environment. These hunts aim to remove as many iguanas as possible, using humane methods. The iguanas are typically captured alive and euthanized to prevent them from reproducing and causing further damage.

The hunting of iguanas in Florida is necessary to protect the native wildlife, prevent further damage to the environment, and mitigate economic impacts. These invasive reptiles have proven to be a threat to the delicate balance of ecosystems, and their removal is crucial to maintaining biodiversity and preserving the natural beauty of the state. By participating in guided hunts, individuals and organizations are actively working towards restoring the natural Florida environment and safeguarding its future.