Save Florida. Eat an Iguana

Yes, you read that right. It's the ingenious title of a book written by George Cera, a fellow Floridian with the exact same sense of passion and appreciation for adventure and wildlife and level-headed conservation that I share.

I'm known for my views and my work in the world of wildlife management. Most know me for my time spent in the marine realm, most visibly with my brothers and lots of sharks. However, there's a big wild world out there, and in Florida, we're fortunate to cohabitate in one of the most robust and diverse eco-systems on the planet.

Sure. You've got your Amazons and your Papua New Guineas and Australian Outbacks, but when it comes to humans, the wild environment and all the flora and fauna sharing some of the same spaces, nothing beats the sunshine state.

That does come at a cost. We won't get into human encroachment on the wilds, i.e., the Everglades and the incalculable cost of that on the natural flow of things -- or how it resulted in what is now the most costly natural restoration project in human history ... right now.

This is about what George Cera speaks of in 'Save Florida. Eat an Iguana'. A little about George from his website,

"He is credited with the removal of 16,000 Iguanas from Boca Grande, FL. The Iguana Cookbook  is a compilation of George's thoughts and views of nature, Iguanas as pets, food, and an ominous warning about their impact on Florida's eco system".

That last sentence is what it's all about. The book is a brisk and light-hearted read, and that's why I feel it gets the point across. I've shared my thoughts about the subject of invasive species in Florida, and this topic is the focus of more than one television project my brother and I are currently producing. This information needs to get out there.

The bottom line is some animals and plants have absolutely no business being here. If you're an animal lover or an adventurer, or an outdoor enthusiast, there's a critical line that needs to be drawn, when it comes to natural resource management policies. There just isn't room for everything that crawls, swims, flies or grows out of the ground.

Indigenous species have a hard enough time as it is without non-native invasives fighting for what scraps there are or simply just consuming native plants and animals to sustain their naturally voracious appetites. In some cases, this is occurring at alarming rates. Let's be clear, though. This isn't just about furry or scaly things with a face. In Florida, we have a serious problem, of epidemic proportions, in some cases, with plants and trees that were 'introduced' to our local environments.

If the cost to our natural resources isn't enough to raise your eyebrows, then maybe how it impacts your wallet or purse is. The cost of barely managing this problem is in the many millions. One way or another, some of that is coming out of your pocket. In some ways, it's impossible to tally the cost.

We look forward to hooking up with George later this year, when our schedule is a little less sharky. We talked on the phone, not too long ago, and he invited us to spend some time 'out there'. Maybe we'll even get to meet his pet iguanas Jade and Rusty. If I'm not mistaken, that's one of 'em modeling for the book cover. If we're lucky, that would be over some margaritas and smoked iguana pizza, after a day trip around Boca Grande with George, 'managing' some wildlife.

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Save Florida. Eat an Iguana. You'll get a humorous, but very clear picture of a serious problem facing Florida's eco-system. And while you're at it, you'll get some of the best recipes going for iguana. It might not be your cup of reptile, but we look at it like an effective, convenient and tasty mix of natural resource management and recycling.

Yes, I did ask if it tastes like chicken. You'll have to wait for the answer, but we'll be sure and let you know.

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