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Everglades Swamped With Invading Burmese Pythons - UPDATES


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Bianca
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« on: July 20, 2009, 10:08:58 am »










FEW DETAILS

For now, the plan is sketchy and no lock. Virtually all the details remain to be worked out -- from the value of a carcass to the rules of who could hunt and where. No guns or hunting are allowed, for instance, in Everglades National Park, epicenter of the python invasion.

Over the last decade, park biologists have documented pythons breeding, eating everything from birds to bobcats, and booming in population. The latest rough estimate: 150,000. Hundreds of the giant constrictors also have been captured well north of the park's Tamiami Trail boundary.

State wildlife managers had been discussing a bounty as an option for controlling the spread of the snakes. But Barreto said managers of federal lands, which include Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve, had been cool to the idea. Barreto, who heads a Miami lobbying firm, said he'd be willing to put up $10,000 of his own to kick-start a program, even if it was confined initially to state lands.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who accompanied Salazar on the tour, agreed some sort of bounty system might produce a ``positive outcome.''

Bounties for animals designated ''nuisances,'' including some native species such as cougars, have a long and controversial history in many western states such as Colorado, where Salazar hails from. Sam Hamilton, regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said they have also been used successfully to control exotic invaders -- most notably the nutria, a large South American rodent that plagues Louisiana.

Dan Kimball, superintendent of Everglades National Park, said scientists are studying myriad ways to track and capture pythons -- from traps baited with enticing snake sex scents to unmanned drone planes that could survey and spot them in remote reaches. 
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