Some here have dubbed it the “green plague”—an infestation of iguanas that are wreaking havoc on the island, chewing up plants and crops and burrowing under roads and dikes.
The reptiles, which aren’t native to Puerto Rico, have few natural predators and are highly fertile. They have proliferated so uncontrollably that their population, estimated at roughly 4 million, now outnumbers humans in this U.S. territory.
“This is a real serious problem,” says Daniel Galán Kercadó, secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. “We have to attack it.”
First, Puerto Rico declared iguanas a nuisance, opening the way for people to hunt them. But that didn’t put much of a dent in the population. Now, authorities have a new solution: eat them.
There isn’t much appetite for iguanas in Puerto Rico, but the meat is popular in other countries, Mr. Galán Kercadó says. Puerto Rico hopes to gather iguanas up, slaughter them and export the meat to countries in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere with a taste for the lizards.