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Federal, State And Local Stakeholders Talk Invasive Species In Southwest Florida

Topher Forhecz/WGCU

Federal, state and local researchers met with landowners in Collier County Wednesday to talk about the threat of invasive species in Southwest Florida.

They covered what’s taking over and how locals can help.

Nile monitor lizards, Burmese pythons and Argentine black and white tegus are just some of the invasive species discussed at a University of Florida research center in Immokalee.

Jenny Ketterlin Eckles is a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She said all of South Florida is at risk for invasion because of its tropical climate.

“The invasion for a lot of species seem to start out more in Southeast Florida, but we're seeing the same species popping up over here in Southwest Florida,” she said.

Researchers are studying these animals. Like tracking Burmese pythons using radio waves to learn about their burrowing habits. They also stressed community outreach.

Ketterlin Eckles said locals can report any sightings of invasive species by calling the hotline 888-IveGot1, reporting it on the website or downloading the app.  

The information is used to better understand and locate invasive species in the state.