On February 25, the commissioners at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted unanimously to approve rule updates that prohibit several species of invasive reptiles, including pythons, tegus, and green iguanas.
FWC staff outlined the ecological and environmental damage caused by these species, the stakeholder engagement process that informed the rule updates, and the overwhelming support for the updates based on public comments throughout the process. Current pet owners can apply for permits to keep their pets, while commercial breeding operations of tegus and green iguanas have until June 30, 2024 to transition away from these species. The updated rules also include improved caging requirements for those permitted to own prohibited species. Audubon supports the rule updates and commends the commission for moving forward with these important environmental protections.
"The commission updated rules that will drastically reduce the source of new invasions in the future," Chris Farrell, Audubon Florida Northeast Policy Associate, explained, "Continued work to reduce existing populations is a priority for FWC, but this vote marks an important and necessary step as we work toward healthier ecosystems."
Audubon Florida members submitted more than 2,000 public comments in support of the rule change. Thank you for your efforts to protect birds and the places they need to survive and thrive.