Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today reconfirmed the department’s commitment to, and expansion of, existing programs to eliminate Burmese pythons from the Everglades.
“Burmese pythons are an invasive species that have no place in the Everglades and threaten its delicate ecosystem,” Salazar said. “We are committed to aggressively combating this threat, including having trained and well-supervised volunteers hunt down and remove snakes. I have also directed my staff to look at the possibility of allocating additional federal resources this fiscal year and I have asked federal and state agencies to work with us to quickly develop an action plan to control this invasive species…”
The Park Service is also evaluating the Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s pilot bounty permit system for possible use on Park Service lands.
That program kicked off in mid-July and will run through Oct. 31. Under the pilot program, five reptile experts have received permits to capture and euthanize pythons on lands managed by the commission or the South Florida Water Management District.
Similarly, a pilot “partner with hunters” program is taking place in Big Cypress National Preserve in which the Park Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation are allowing licensed hunters in the preserve to shoot pythons, a non-game species, if they encounter the snakes while hunting…
In addition, the two agencies are funding a U.S. Geological Survey risk assessment project designed to help define the scope of the problem and develop “biological/management profiles for nine large constrictor snakes,” the government reported, adding that the “the risk assessment will contain information that has broad application to the management of pythons and other large exotic constrictors in the U.S.”
Phew. Overdue. Still scary.
We have native constrictors here on Lot 4 [if you’ve ever looked at any of my sidebar photos you’d know that]; but, nothing larger than a 7-foot gopher snake.