By Chad Oliver
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
SARASOTA, FL (KLTV) - George Cera has an eye for the exotic.
"Yeah, don't move," said Cera.
His target is the spiny-tailed black iguana. Using a pellet gun, Cera takes out two within minutes of stepping into this yard on Siesta Key. He does it not with a smile, but with satisfaction that he's removing an exotic species.
"Honestly, it makes me feel bad," said Cera. "People had them as pets back in the seventies.
From what I've seen, they have wiped out species."
In 2007, Cera was hired by homeowners on Boca Grande in Lee County. In less than two years, he took out 16,000 iguanas. Pets that once released reproduce quickly with few predators. Killing native animals like, Loggerhead Sea Turtles and Juvenile Gopher Tortoises.
"There were no Gopher Tortoises that were under 10 years old when we first started," Cera. "So, there were entire generations that were just wiped out."
This year, Cera decided to put his thoughts on paper. He's published a book called "Save Florida, Eat an Iguana" - an iguana cookbook.
"If you're going to take something's life, eat it," said Cera.
Iguanas are native to Central and South America where this problem is common.
"Pretty much same as alligator but, you know there's meat all the way through it," explained Cera. "My main concern is not so much that people eat iguanas but that they are aware of the impact they're having and that we need to do more."
"If I would have written a book, that said 'The Ecological Impact of Iguanas on Florida's Native Wildlife' nobody would have picked it up," laughed Cera.
If Cera has his way, iguanas will soon become a rare delicacy in Florida.