Believed to be imported into Taiwan with plants, the brown anole’s first recorded sighting was in 2000 near a plant nursery in Chiayi County. The lizard is originally from Cuba and the Bahamas and it is listed as the top 100 invasive species of all time.
Since 2009, the government has tried ways to reduce the population of these lizards and restrict them to Chiayi County. A 2015 survey estimated that there were 2.58 million anoles in the county, and the government planned on removing 30 per cent of this population annually to prevent the lizards from spreading in Taiwan. To do so, the authorities gave out a 20 yuan bounty to local villagers per lizard caught. In 2009, 88,838 were caught by villagers. By 2013, the price of each anole was reduced to 3 yuan each and the total number captured was 133,333.
Scientists can typically catch 200 individuals in a single hour in an evening. The lizards are removed with a pair of metallic forceps while they are sleeping at on leaves or tree trunks. Further research is currently being carried out on the impact that the brown anole has on native reptiles.