Taipei, Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau has added the green iguana to the country’s list of animals that must be officially registered if they are to be raised and bred, amid concerns over the damage the lizards are doing to the environment when released into the wild.
In the updated list of animals to be registered that also included 13 native species and some non-native species, the Forestry Bureau described the green iguana as “exotic wildlife dangerous to the environment, people or animals.”
Green iguanas have been introduced from Latin America as pets, but many owners have released them into the wild after being unable or unwilling to care for them.
Without predators, their numbers have quickly grown, causing agricultural losses and damaged roads and riverbanks, the Forestry Bureau said in explaining why it had to tighten regulations on breeding, raising and releasing the animals.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Act, an official permit is required before any of the animals on the list can be imported, sold, or displayed.
Those who have been raising green iguanas and the animals added to the list must register them with their local governments from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 or be fined NT$10,000 (US$340) to NT$60,000 and face the loss of the animal.
According to the Forestry Bureau, the list was modified based on discussions with experts earlier this year and took into account the results of monitoring species in the wild and the threat and commercial exploitation the animals face.
Among the 13 native species added to the revised list were the endangered Chinese box turtle and seven types of birds, including the yellow-breasted bunting, Taiwan rosefinch, and collared bush-robin, the Forestry Bureau said.
At the same time, the Forestry Bureau removed 19 species from the list because their wild populations in Taiwan have shown stable growth, including Latham’s snipe and the blue-breasted quail.
Several endangered non-native species considered hard to breed artificially and often captured from the wild for sale were added to the list, including the Chinese crocodile lizard, the pig-nosed turtle, and the black-breasted leaf turtle.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel