Hunting pythons in Florida’s Everglades
It’s not a holiday advertisement for a rugged getaway, but rather a somewhat desperate move by the Florida state government to control what they see as a threat to their state’s fragile eco-system.
I guess hunting pythons is sexier than a moratorium on the construction of new McMansions in the Everglades – and less controversial. Half of the state of Florida’s famed subtropical wetlands have been turned into farmland or urban areas according to a 1999 geological survey by the US government. Furthermore, only half of that half is a protected national park.
Still, invasive species are leaving their mark on the ecology of the Everglades and the psychology of Floridians.
From an article in the Guardian:
Nobody knows how many pythons or other large constrictors are on the loose, or exactly how they got out into the wild. Estimates run as high as 100,000. State wildlife officials are hoping a significant slice of the population froze to death in February’s extreme cold spell but they admit their evidence is spotty.
I’m assuming they got there the same way all the stray housecats – not scary, but still destructive – monitor lizards, iguanas, exotic fishes, dogs and ferrets did: People couldn’t be bothered to take care of their pets anymore and dumped them there.
The hunt, which began in early march and excludes Everglades National Park land, has so far resulted in not one single python kill.
Perhaps the proposed ban from the Obama administration on both importing constrictors into the US and transporting them between states might have more of an effect. Then again, maybe all these invasive species are here to stay. Aside from the unseasonable cold snap experienced this winter, Florida gives them plenty of sun, food and places to hide from hunters.
by Graham Land