Thursday, December 22, 2011

Florida Lawmakers Urge the Obama Administration to Ban Trade in Large Snakes

A Burmese python

A group of nine Florida lawmakers is urging the Obama Administration to stop delaying action on a legislation that would ban the import of large constricting snakes that have been causing major problems in South Florida. The nine lawmakers have spoken in support of the rule's finalization to list nine species of these large snakes as "injurious" under the Lacey Act. This rule, which was asserted by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, had been waiting to be put into action since March of this year. The most recent letter was written by House of Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks and former chairman C.W. Bill Young in affiliation with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). A similar letter signed by seven representatives of Florida was sent to the White House this November. That same month, Senator Bill Nelson wrote a letter concerning the Burmese pythons. South Florida has been invaded by these gigantic snakes for past several years. Experts estimate that there are anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 pythons living in the Everglades area, and are possibly a result of pet owners setting them free.
The Everglades are under constant threat of pythons and other invasive species because of the pet trade.

I also firmly believe that the Obama Administration should place a ban in trade of these gigantic snakes. These pythons are not only an invasive threat to the native species in Florida, but they also pose grave danger to the general public. Even though they are inexpensive to keep, they can grow to be more than twenty feet long and weigh over hundred. Incidents involving Burmese pythons being kept as pets have resulted in serious injuries to people, but some cases have resulted in deaths. Among those who end up this way are young children and regular pets, such as cats and dogs. This basically highlights the dangers of keeping wild animals as pets, and it is a matter which must be looked at by the federal government. Pythons are also a major threat to Florida's native wildlife, especially to endangered species such as the wood stork and the Florida Key deer. If they continue to slither free in the native habitats, the populations of such native wild animals would disappear completely. They even pose a threat to restoration efforts in the Everglades. This is why it is crucial to place a ban in the trade of these snakes and other exotic species that are terrorizing Florida.

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