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Florida Told People to Shoot Iguanas on Sight — Then They Actually Started Doing It

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is having second thoughts about a directive it issued that urged people to kill iguanas “whenever possible.”

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Kill Iguanas "Whenever Possible"
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(TMU) — Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is clearly having second thoughts about a controversial directive it issued earlier this month that urged Floridians to kill wild green iguanas “whenever possible,” and is now informing residents that the state is not a “wild west”-style shooting range for hunting down the reptile.

In a notice about the invasive species that had been posted to the FWC website, the commission had previously said:

“Homeowners do not need a permit to kill iguanas on their own property, and the FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible.”

The statement drew bemusement as well as anger from people across the United States, leaving animal rights advocates fuming about what they saw as a green light to senselessly butcher the lizards.

The Humane Society of the United States blasted the “irresponsible directive,” claiming that the FWC notice was “not accompanied by any guidance on how such killing should be conducted, which all but ensures that the animals will be randomly pursued and persecuted, resulting in massive suffering and cruel deaths.”

The Human Society added:

“Even if the animals were humanely captured and killed, there is no science-backed evidence to show that such an approach will effectively reduce the state’s population of iguanas in the long term.”

The offending lines have since been removed by the FWC.

Experts say that the lizards—which are native to Central America, the eastern Caribbean islands, and tropical parts of South America—are reproducing at a rapid rate due to the especially warm year. Female iguanas can lay about 80 eggs per year, and the hardy creature measuring around 5 feet can live up to around a decade in the wild.

Green iguanas are considered to be an invasive species due to the damage they can cause to seawalls, sidewalks and landscape plants, which they enjoy burrowing under and leaving dropping on. The iguana could also present a threat to residential and commercial landscape vegetation, as well as an endangered native species of tree snail.

Despite the threat from the lizards, however, Florida’s authorities are now walking back their earlier directive. In a news release issued last Thursday, FWC Commissioner Rodney Bareto acknowledged that the prior directive about killing the iguanas was a bit over-the-top.

The FWC commissioner said:

“Unfortunately, the message has been conveyed that we are asking the public to just go out there and shoot them up. This is not what we are about; this is not the ‘wild west.’ If you are not capable of safely removing iguanas from your property, please seek assistance from professionals who do this for a living.”

Green iguanas were first reported in Florida in the 1960s along Miami-Dade County’s southeastern coast, and authorities say that many have been brought to Florida as pets or were stow-aways on ships. In hot and humid Florida, the reptile has flourished.

The iguanas are known to reside in burrows, culverts, drainage pipes and debris or rock piles. South Florida’s system of man-made canals have also served as “ideal dispersal corridors to further allow iguanas to colonize new areas,” the commission has said.

Wildlife expert Joseph Wasilewski told the Washington Post:

“In the last five or 10 years, I’ve seen the population literally explode.”

Changing climate conditions across the planet have tipped the balance in favor of invasive species in recent years by removing the natural environmental limits on certain creatures. Warming temperatures and humidity have opened up the ability of foreign flora and fauna to colonize new territories that were previously inclement to species that thrive in hot, moist climes.

According to a recent study, alien species—those who are not endemic or native to a particular environment—have been a primary driver of extinctions affecting both plants and animals across the globe.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Scientists Catch a Glimpse of a Ultra-Rare Giant Phantom Jelly, With Bizarre Ribbon-Like Arms

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Researchers have seen a large deep-sea jellyfish with the assistance of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts off the coast of California, in an extremely rare sighting. The footage revealed the creature’s unique and exquisite features.

The uncommon encounter was documented in November this year, 990 meters (3,200 ft) deep in Monterey Bay, according to a report issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Youtube Screenshot

The enigmatic phantom jellyfish was initially discovered in 1899, but scientists did not recognize it as a distinct species until 1960. Scientists still know very little about this creature.

The specimen of the huge phantom jelly has only been seen 110 times in 110 years across the world. According to the MBARI research, despite thousands of dives, their ROVs have only observed this amazing species nine times.

The huge phantom jellyfish has the following characteristics:

The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) broad, with four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to be more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, according to an MBARI report.

Youtube Screenshot

The species is said to inhabit anywhere between the surface and 21,900 feet in depth. It does, however, remain in the twilight zone, which is just beyond the reach of sunlight.

The organism, formally known as ‘Stygiomedusa gigantea’, is found all across the planet except in the Arctic Ocean, according to the experts.

Youtube Screenshot

It’s worth noting that, in the past, scientists depended on trawl-nets to examine deep-sea species; but, the jellies, which transform into a viscous goo in trawl nets, were difficult to research using this outdated method. Fish, crabs, and squids are among the only creatures that can be effectively studied from nets.

Researchers may now examine these creatures in their native habitat with high-definition footage thanks to the robot cams. I, personally, prefer this “no-touch” approach.

Watch the mesmerizing video here:

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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