A green iguana checks the flowers on a Bougainvillea plant in Hollywood, Florida.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Scientists are sometimes charged with saving animals threatened with extinction. But in Florida, from extinction, at least locally, is the goal. As part of a three-month project is focused on the culling of high numbers of invasive iguanas in the Sunshine State, researchers at the University of Florida are killing the animals with a blunt trauma—smashing the reptile’s head against hard objects, from rocks to vehicles or a device with which a metal bolt into the brain, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Research coordinator Jenny Ketterlin says that both processes are more humane than decapitation without anesthesia, but others have doubts. A veterinarian says that animals must be stunned and killed while a patient who claims to have killed 100 iguanas with a pellet gun argues that its method is less forced.
Still, the researchers commissioned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say that the destruction of the brain of the reptiles, while they sleep, this is the best option, and in accordance with anti-cruelty laws.
Although traps and euthanasia are also used, researchers mostly search for the animals in the night, pulling sleeping iguanas directly from the trees. Those killed are weighed and measured before being discarded in a landfill, Ketterlin says.
About 300 iguanas, who first arrived in Florida as pets, to have already met such a fate along a canal in Davie, according to the Washington Post.
Researchers also plan to tips on how to remove iguanas from gardens, where they feed on native plants and animals, and dig into areas that may lead to erosion,” says an FWC rep.
(It has recently been raining iguanas in Florida.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Method of Killing of the Respondents in Florida Iguana Cull