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Iguanas being collected and sold??

I was wondering if anyone else had heard about this and/or has any thoughts about this...
In the Fajardo-Luquillo-Rio Grande area, I had recently felt like I noticed a decline in my usual sightings of especially the larger Iguanas.
Then last night a friend-a local- told me people have been gathering them up by the pick-up load to sell to some (new?) meat processing company who is paying for any brought in.  She has witnessed this herself...men climbing into trees and throwing them down to another guy filling up his pickup bed with them.
Evidently the meat is in demand???
Isolated case or has this been going on for awhile? Or something new?

The iguana meat sells here in Texas for $28 a pound. We saw it at the local supermarket been advertised as from PR so I am not surprised someone have made a business out of selling them. They are a pest, eat everything and are affecting the crops in the island. And they are not original from the island.

A few restaurants in PR are experimenting with the meat. But is is my understanding that iguana meat is in high demand in other Latin America countries. It is popular in Mexico, Salvador and others. So more than likely they are doing it for export.
This site is selling iguana meat for about $22 a pound. Www.exoticmeatsandmore.com/iguana.aspx

Do a search in tube for "carne de iguana" (iguana meat) and you will see some recipes

Iguana is more expensive than lobster, so have more lobster :D

Thanks for the info @ReyP and @Adlin20!

I do know that iguanas pose a problem for farmers in the Sourwest area of Puert Rico.

Hi ! I live in Luquillo about a year now and recently heard this from neighbors they said they are being eradicated because they are harmful to natural environment by PR . Can't confirm any of this but was wondering why they would be considered harmful when they only are leaf eaters ? Any other info you find out would be interesting to know thanks .... Johnny

They eat the flower blossoms, leaves and fruit.

They also eat a lot, causing unreasonable damage to crops. If the eat the blossoms then no fruit.

They are not native PR animal, they were released and multiplied into a major pest.

We have issues with monkeys that excaped also. Some cary diseases they were being experimented with.

I've had iguana. It's qiute tasty

Just to clarify, since this point was not raised above, iguanas (the green iguana, in particular) is an invasive species not native to Puerto Rico.

Adult iguanas are indeed mostly herbivorous, but also opportunistically eat whatever they can get, including bird eggs.

Aside from the destruction of native flora, they also cause serious (and economically costly) damage to roads by excavating earth by roadways to build their nests.

Wow thought you were just kidding !! How are you Rey?? Met Bill from Fajardo the other day at the beach! Time for another get together !!

Doing good Johnny, but no visits to PR for a while.. I PM-Ed you about it.

If we all start eating iguana and the eggs the problem will go away. Yum.

Well, I've had the pleasure of seeing the Puerto Rican green parrot, an endangered specie, forage on the green space below my balcony. That gives me hope.

A few years back (around 2013) a guy from California came here and tried  to monetize on the problem. I believe he called his business "Chicken of the Tree" but a quick google search didn't reveal any updates. The only processing plant I could find is this one. They have a video here (en español ) and have been around since 2011. There are also several FB groups for iguana hunting if you want to buy an air rifle and join in. This one even provides the guns and ammo.

Speaking about non-native / invasive species ..... The Lion Fish typically reproduces about once a months in the states, it has moved to the waters of Puerto Rico and now it reproduces about every 4 days, producing about 15,0000 eggs per spawn. They eat everything including lobsters, they have become a pest.

While the majority of the fins are poisonous and can give you a painful reaction, the flesh of the fish is fine to eat.

Movement has been started to raise awareness and increase its consumption, in PR we want to balance its numbers in the best possible way, by eating it. Get some when you are at the restaurants and it it gets caught in your nets, cut the fins and have a free meal.

The way they reproduce, we will never be able to eat them all.

I know a couple of guys here in El Campo who are catching and selling iguanas. I don't know to whom they sell but they must be doing a great job. We very seldom spot an iguana in our area. :)

Gary :

I know a couple of guys here in El Campo who are catching and selling iguanas. I don't know to whom they sell but they must be doing a great job. We very seldom spot an iguana in our area. :)

Are they going house by house or just in "El Monte".

I am not sure but my husband and I were there back in July and went to the Indian Caves in Arecibo. A guide there told us they caught and ate them! Upon return back to the airport, my husband told the cab driver about it and he responded with astonishment, stating they must do that in the mountain range. He also said that was mainly a "Mexican thing" (his words not mine). We thought it was strange to eat them but that's what we heard while visiting the island.

ReyP :

Are they going house by house or just in "El Monte".

I don't know where the sell them, I think I heard they are being processed by others and then frozen. It sounded like a professional organization buying the iguanas.

I never ate iguana but they say it tastes like chicken :D

If I was eating meat, I'd try iguana.  We eat fish but Lion Fish, I have not tried yet.  They have also invaded the waters around Jamaica and they are trying to put them on menus there as well.

Gary :
ReyP :

Are they going house by house or just in "El Monte".

I don't know where the sell them, I think I heard they are being processed by others and then frozen. It sounded like a professional organization buying the iguanas.

No I meant, are they going house to house climbing on trees to get the iguanas or are they just going into the woods and collecting those? Have your family been asked if ok to come in and collect them?

They call them Gallinas the Palo, or chickens of the trees, because they do taste close to chicken and they spend a lot of times in trees. Then again people in the US say rattle snake taste like chicken. SO anything close in taste I guess tastes like chicken. Best way to eat is a stew or soup, lots of bones not that much meat, stew is best.

For those learning Spanish .... A "Palo" translates to stick, however in PR we call trees "Palos" and sometimes "Arboles" (correct name). A "Gallina" is a hen but it is generically used for all chickens (male or females) when speaking generally. A "Mata" is a plant, do not confuse with the verb "matar" with means to kill.

They can come to my property and catch them all!! Dram pest damaged all the wife's plants.

I haven't seen them catching iguanas around here but since they guys are from the barrio they can go almost anywhere around here.
Like I said, they musty be effective because I hardly spot an iguana around here. :)

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