Taipei, April 16 (CNA) The forest management authority in Hualien County is currently training volunteers to hunt an invasive alien lizard species that is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, a forestry official from the eastern Taiwan county said Monday.
Hualien Forest District Office Director Chang Pin said Monday that action must be taken as a study on the brown anole's breeding habits in Hualien found that the alien species has invaded many places of the county, including a highland area in the north, the Hualien Air Force Base and the campus of National Dong Hwa University.
The 48 Highland is now already home to the largest group of brown anoles in Hualien, Chang noted.
If the lizard is allowed to reproduce in other places, population figures are expected to grow so fast that no-one will be able to stop them, he said.
The brown anole is among the 100 most vicious invasive alien species in Taiwan, according to Chang.
Native ecosystems are being threatened by the alien reptile, which is endowed with a strong reproduction capability and has few natural enemies in Taiwan, the official warned.
He noted that studies have shown that the number of native lizards has been decreasing due to the aggressive lizard's invasion into their territories.
Besides threatening the county's ecosystems, brown anoles are also seen as a potential source of diseases as they are a carrier of parasites, Chang added.
(By Andrew Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)