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53 GASPARILLA MAGAZINE JULY/AUG 2016 the problem was given to Lee County, they contacted all the registered wildlife trappers in their system. One of them was George Cera. George is a long-time wildlife researcher and environmentalist. When he first heard about the problem he asked why the county wanted to get rid of the lizards. “They are pooping in people’s pools,” was the answer he was given. He didn’t feel that was enough of a reason to spend time on the project until his first trip to Boca Grande. Then he realized just how much damage was being done by the omnivorous animals. Cera believes he has eliminated more than 30,000 iguanas from the island since he started in February, 2006. Within the first two years of the program it is estimated that George eradicated more than 16,000 iguanas from the Lee County side of Gasparilla Island. After that Lee County voted the USDA in to exterminate iguanas for two years, but their success was limited and the numbers started increasing once again. The county then brought Cera back in 2011, and he’s been averaging around 2,000 a year ever since. “I have taken a lot of them off the island,” he said.


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