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Everglades Swamped With Invading Burmese Pythons - UPDATES


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Author Topic: Everglades Swamped With Invading Burmese Pythons - UPDATES  (Read 395 times)
Bianca
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« on: July 20, 2009, 10:05:35 am »










TRAPPERS AND HUNTERS



Pythons captured in the Everglades are often killed. Wildlife officials are trying trapping and other eradication methods, and are considering offering bounties to hunters. Scientists are experimenting with ways to lure the snakes into traps, including the use of pheromones -- chemicals that serve as sexual attractants -- as bait.

"They are estimating there are 150,000 of these snakes. They proliferate so quickly," said Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who accompanied Salazar on the airboat tour of the Everglades. "They've already found grown deer, they've found full sized bobcats inside them. It's just a matter of time before one gets the highly endangered Florida panther."

But biologists played down the risk to the panther, the most endangered species in the Everglades. There are believed to be only about 100 left, but they range over a territory of some 2 million acres.

"It would take some awfully unique circumstances for a python and a panther to meet up," said Darrell Land, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist. "And the cats are very wary and they have very quick reaction times."

Pythons are not the only invader troubling the Everglades.

New fish and rodent species have also become pests, and two thriving colonies of the Nile monitor lizard, an Africa native that can grow to 7 feet in length, have established themselves on opposite sides of the state.

Nelson, a Democrat, said the Obama administration had committed $200 million, including $100 million of stimulus money, so far this year to Everglades restoration, a 35-year project valued at $8 billion when it was started nearly a decade ago.

The project is designed to restore natural water flow and native wildlife populations to the shallow, slow-moving river that dominates the interior of southern Florida.




(Editing by

Pascal Fletcher
and Mohammad Zargham)
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