Tuesday, January 17, 2012

U.S Government Set to Approve Ban on Importing and Selling of Pythons

Florida Senator Bill Nelson with a 17-foot long python skin

It has been recently reported that the U.S government is set to place a ban on the importing of pythons in the country. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be set to make the announcement during a press conference at a flood control pumping station off the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades. Under the rule that was subjected to five years of lobbying and debate, the U.S government has intended to declare the Burmese python as an "injurious" species making it illegal to either import or sell the snakes across state lines. This python is one of the nine species of constricting snakes having taken over the Everglades ecosystem. However, the African rock python will also make it to the list as it is also slithering amok in the region. Despite numerous attempts made by state and federal wildlife managers, environmental groups, scientists, and local lawmakers like Senator Bill Nelson to outlaw the issue, no such action was taken before. The reason was because many reptile breeders and collectors were backed by Republican lawmakers, who would dispute any arguments saying that the snakes pose a threat to Florida's native ecosystems and argue that placing restrictions would harm the exotic pet industry. Biologists estimate that there are thousands of pythons in the Everglades, where they have eaten everything including alligators, and some studies suggest they could possibly spread outside Florida.
The Burmese python is a major threat in Florida to both the wildlife and the general public.

I'm very proud to see that the U.S government has taken this matter into consideration. And now, it has made it's decision to ban the importing and selling of pythons in the U.S. However, I also feel that it is important to consider other non-native species that are wreaking havoc in the wilds of Florida. For example, there are Nile monitor lizards running loose in the native ecosystems. These scaly invaders are considered to be a potential threats to the Florida's native inhabitants, especially American alligators and crocodiles. Originating from Africa, these lizards have an insatiable appetite for crocodile eggs. Similarly in Florida, they see alligator and crocodile eggs as their native delicacy. By feeding on them, they hinder the alligator and crocodile populations. In addition to that, they are also turning up in the local suburbs encountering people and pets resulting in serious injuries to the general public. Another alien hazard to Florida is the Gambian giant pouched rat. This rodent has gained notoriety for the monkeypox epidemic in the U.S over the years. This is why it is crucial for the U.S to tackle the growing problem of exotic pets running loose in Florida and elsewhere in the nation, impacting both the native wildlife and the general public.

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