The green iguana (???), also known as the American iguana, an introduced species that is native to Central and South America and the Caribbean, could pose a potential threat to Taiwan's ecology if they continue to find their way from their owners into the wild, officials in Tainan said Wednesday.
The Tainan City Agriculture Bureau said it is now making efforts to remove the lizards, saying that the animals, which are fed mainly on cabbage as pets, have adapted themselves to the wild and have become a problem because they eat the buds and sprouts of all vegetables.
The bureau said that due to its bright green color, green iguanas are popular pets. The lizards can reach a length of 1.8 meters when fully grown.
But pet owners often do not have proper places to keep them after they are fully grown, so many of them are either dumped or escape.
The animal prefers warmer weather, so that their habitat in Taiwan extends from Chiayi to Pingtung in southern Taiwan.
Since they have been able to adapt to life in the wild, they have become hated by vegetable farmers because of their voracious destructive power.
Agriculture officials said they have been making efforts to eradicate the green iguanas since last year.
This year, it has targeted an area along the Sanyeigong River in Tainan's Jente (??) District, and has so far captured 115 of the creatures.
It is planning to collect more data on the location of the lizards, the times of day that they usually appear, and their destructive power, in order to minimize the ecological crisis triggered by their increasing numbers.
The bureau called on the public to seriously consider if they can take care of the animals before taking them as pets.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel