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Green iguana population bounces back in Florida

June 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM
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SUNSHINE, Fla., June 17 (UPI) -- Residents of some South Florida neighborhoods said the damaged green iguana population has rebounded -- and the creatures are destroying their plants.

Locals in Sunrise and other locations said the green iguanas, which experienced a sharp population drop due to the harsh 2010 winter, have rebounded and are targeting their orchids and hibiscus blooms, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.

"I planted hibiscus and all these other plants and they are eating them," said Adam Kirschnerof. "I see flowers and then I come back and they're gone, and there's a green lizard I have to chase away with a hockey stick. I don't want to kill them. I just want them to stay away from my plants."

The iguanas are native to Mexico, Central America and the Amazon basin, and they arrived in the area via the exotic pet trade, said Jennifer Eckles, non-native wildlife biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

"There were a lot of dead and dying iguanas right after the cold snap happened," Eckles said. "Certainly they disappeared from a lot of canals. But it appears they are rebounding. People are seeing a lot of iguanas in the canals and a lot of hatchling iguanas. We're getting a lot more calls. I think we are reaching back to the levels pre-2010."

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