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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A state senator from Miami has asked his fellow lawmakers to fund a pilot program to hunt non-native tegu lizards which he says are decimating the Everglades and other ecosystems throughout parts of southern and central Florida.

On Tuesday Sen. Frank Artiles filed a measure that would direct the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to work with the Department of Environmental Protection on the program, which would involve contracting with hunting teams to capture or destroy the black-and-white lizards native to Central and South America.

The hunts would occur in the Everglades and the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, along with other commission-managed areas where the lizards are breeding.

The lizards, which can grow to 4-feet-long and threaten small wildlife species, are believed to have arrived in South Florida as an exotic pet around 2002.

The proposal calls for setting aside $300,000 a year, for the next two years, from the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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