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Den argentinske lov: En ubuden gæst i Florida

The Argentine black and white tegus, a large lizard species native to South America, have become an invasive species in Florida.

These reptiles, which can reach nearly five feet in length, were introduced to the U.S. through the pet trade and then likely released from captivity into the environment.

Meet the Argentine tegu, an invasive species of giant lizard in the US.
Argentine tegus are “dog-like” lizards that can grow up to 5 fødder i størrelse.

The Invasion Begins

Tegus have been reported in 35 Florida counties, including nearly every part of the greater Tampa Bay region.

Distinct populations have been established in four Florida counties.

The tegus have spread and established populations in and around Florida at a rapid and growing rate, demonstrating critical implications for native wildlife, numerous natural areas, and even restoration efforts for Everglades National Park.

The tegu population has been increasing, with a marked increase up until 2019.

Their presence, measured mostly by the number of tegus trapped and removed, is now established in several North Florida counties and as far north as Georgia.

They have the ability to expand pretty far north in Florida and can survive through freezes. This adaptability has led to an established population in Georgia.

Impact on Native Wildlife and Control Efforts

The invasive species are known to eat the eggs of important animals in Florida, like American alligators and rare birds, which are biological indicators for Everglades restoration.

They are omnivores that eat fruits, grøntsager, insekter, small animals including protected species, and prefer eggs. There’s strong evidence that tegus are affecting native species across Florida.

Wildlife experts and scientists have developed cooperative programs over the last decade to locate, survey, monitor, and trap tegus where they have spread and established populations.

This is all to reduce the species numbers and control it in Florida and outlying areas before it continues to spread. Imidlertid, dedicated multi-year funding is needed to continue enacting a successful interagency tegu control program across the landscape.

Partnering agencies include Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), United States Geological Survey (USGS), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), National Park Service (NPS), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Tegus Are No Longer Allowed as Pets in Florida

While it may seem unfortunate for reptile enthusiasts, the prohibition of owning tegus as pets in Florida is a necessary measure to protect the state’s delicate ecosystems.

Up until 2021, it was legal to own a tegu as a pet in Florida.

desværre, due to the significant environmental and ecological damage caused by these invasive species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) implemented new restrictions.

Effective from April 29, 2021, these rules ban the ownership, sale, and breeding of tegus and 15 other invasive reptiles.

Existing pet owners were allowed to keep their tegus but were required to apply for a free permit and have their pets microchipped by July 28, 2021.

desværre, no new pets of these species may be acquired after the rules took effect.

This decision was not taken lightly. The “high risk” of environmental and ecological damage from invasive species that are released or get loose in the wild outweighs the hardships imposed on the business community as well as the enthusiasts.

As of today, there is no way to obtain a tegu legally in Florida as a pet.

While this may be disappointing for some, it is a crucial step towards preserving Florida’s unique biodiversity and ensuring a balanced ecosystem for future generations.

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