Effective conservation of native species populations in Florida includes the control of nonnative invasive species. The spread of nonnative species displaces native species, may pose threats to human health and safety, and causes economic damage. The management of nonnative invasive species is critical to minimize the adverse effects of these species and occurs through prevention, early detection/rapid response, control, and education/outreach.
To help contain the spread of nonnative fish and wildlife species, the FWC works with other agencies, organizations, and volunteers to address emerging issues such as African clawed frogs and water monitors, to control established populations of Burmese pythons, Nile monitors, and tegus, and to encourage recreational and commercial fishing of lionfish. Report sightings of these species to the Exotics Species Hotline at 1-888-IveGot1 (1-888-483-4681), and report other nonnative species online at Ivegot1.org or by using the IveGot1 app. To prevent introduction of nonnative animals into the wild by pet owners, the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program provides a statewide, year-round service to help place exotic pets into new, pre-approved homes. Exotic pet owners can receive assistance rehoming exotic pets by calling the Exotic Pet Amnesty Hotline at 1-888-486-4683 or by sending an email to PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com.
Nonnative invasive plant species also create a suite of wildlife conservation challenges and FWC is the lead agency in Florida responsible for coordinating and funding statewide programs for controlling invasive aquatic and upland plants on public conservation lands and waterways throughout the state.