MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – They’re invasive and destructive, and in the last few years Miami Beach residents say the iguana population has been expanding exponentially.
“Something more needs to be done,” said resident Barbara Benis. She said she had to re-build her sea wall after iguanas destroyed it.
Video from several days ago shows an iguana hunter paid by the city, shooting and collecting the scaly critters. But city leaders, who met Wednesday, will be quadrupling the budget for iguana remediation and looking into more solutions.
By phone, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said last year’s budget for iguana removal was $50,000 and has been upped to $200,000. He would like to tackle the problem on both private and public properties.
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez raised the idea of putting a bounty on the reptiles.
“I don’t know - dead or alive. But if we pay per iguana we’re going to get more iguanas,” she said. “People are going to go out and hunt them for money. I think that’s a better use of our money.”
Gelber said a bounty plan could work, as long as it’s legal and does the job.
An ad-hoc committee will be formed to look into best practices and competitive bids for removal services have been requested.