Python Ban: The Adaptability Argument

 

 

Prehistoric Pets has long worked with a wide variety of species of large constrictors, over a span of many years. During that time, we have come to an intimate understanding of the animals we have worked with, their temperature and environmental needs, personalities, reproductive and feeding capabilities. With this background and some additional research it becomes clear the animals recently added to the Lacey act are neither capable of living outside of their current establishment in the Everglades or pose a reasonable threat to humans. We’ve compiled just some of the facts we’ve found within the documentation supposedly backing this faulty legislation.

We urge you to read these excerpts, examine the sources and develop your own opinion on the subject, but please please do not rely on sensationalized images and articles with an underlying agenda. Today we will cover the adaptability argument that is so often misconstrued and sensationalized by hypothetical ideas instead of the facts proven by multiple tests.

 

 

 

 

 

ADAPTABILITY/SURVIVABILITY ARGUMENT

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Large constrictor snakes released into federal lands, such as National Parks or National Wildlife Refuges, not only present a threat to the living resources protected for the benefit of the public on those lands but they also present the potential for the establishment of reproducing populations, which can then become a source for the spread of these species into surrounding states.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

Jewell says the import ban won't help the Everglades — it's too late there. It's meant to keep pythons and other constrictors from spreading. The Fish and Wildlife Service's research suggests that they could live almost anywhere in the Southern U.S.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/31/146124073/pythons-blamed-for-everglades-disappearing-animals

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

In a study conducted in the Everglades, nine of ten radio-tracked snakes in shallow marsh habitat perished either from the cold temperatures or from complications experienced as a consequence of the cold temperatures.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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The Service’s injurious wildlife evaluation indicates these snakes have this potential, particularly the potential to expand beyond south Florida. Large constrictor snakes have demonstrated that they are highly adaptable to new environments, consuming any prey available, and they are observed to efficiently use habitats available to them in their existing U.S. locations.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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Question 11:  Why not just allow each State to decide whether or not these four species of snakes or any other species should be banned?

The application of the Lacey Act prohibitions on these snake species is necessary because public interests of U.S. citizens are, and may reasonably be assumed to be in the future, affected across state boundaries.  Large constrictor snakes released into federal lands, such as National Parks or National Wildlife Refuges, not only present a threat to the living resources protected for the benefit of the public on those lands but they also present the potential for the establishment of reproducing populations, which can then become a source for the spread of these species into surrounding states.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

In a related study, Dorcas et al. (2010) relocated 10 Burmese pythons from the Everglades to an outdoor research setting in South Carolina in June 2009. The following January, the pythons all died.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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Snakes Get Lobbyists in Fight Over Boa Ban

The snake species considered for the federal listing could survive in about one-third of U.S. states and territories, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report by scientists at its Fort Collins Science Center in Colorado.

 

Climate change may extend their habitat as far north as New York and Washington state by 2100, according to the study.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-05/snakes-get-lobbyists-too-as-breeders-charm-congress-to-fight-u-s-boa-ban.html

 

Question 8:  In making this determination, how much consideration did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give to climate change and its potential to increase the geographic range of habitat that can support populations of these snakes? 

 

Answer:  Our final rule is based on current climate conditions.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/FoursnakesQsAs11612.pdf

 

The threat of Burmese pythons slinking toward Manhattan is overblown, according to a 2008 study by scientists at the City University of New York. They said weather patterns will confine them to the Everglades and far-southern Texas.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-05/snakes-get-lobbyists-too-as-breeders-charm-congress-to-fight-u-s-boa-ban.html

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Moving snakes into unfamiliar territory may compromise their chances to survive.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/snakes/tips/solving_problems_snakes.html

 

Given the climate flexibility exhibited by the Burmese python in its native range (as analyzed through the U.S. Geological Survey’s climate-matching predictions in the United States), new generations within the leading edge of the population’s nonnative range could become increasingly adaptable and able to expand to colder climates.

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2012/pdfs/ColdWeather.pdf

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A report recently issued by Dave Hallac and colleagues at Florida's Everglades National Park determined that at least 70 crocodiles, more than 60 manatees, and countless plants, butterflies and snakes have died within the Everglades marshes and mangroves so far this winter. Hallac said the impact of the cold weather has been "substantial" in South Florida.

But Behnke believes at least some of the snake deaths could help local ecosystems. Burmese and African rock pythons, along with other animals, are not native to the area and are considered to be "invasive." Because they are tropical species, these animals have very low cold tolerance. Some Burmese pythons have even been found frozen stiff in the Everglades.

Scott Hardin, the FWC's exotic species coordinator, said half of South Florida's python population might have died in the recent cold weather.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/florida-wildlife-cold-weather.html

 


 

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