Nelson: Kill those snakes in the grass!by Dara Kam | July 14th, 2009
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is asking federal officials for a posse.
A python posse, that is.
Nelson sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to approve a python-kill because the slithering beasts are taking over the River of Grass.
Nelson earlier this year introduced a bill to ban imports of Burmese pythons and classifying them as “injurious animals.”
Two weeks ago, a pet python strangled to death a two-year-old Florida girl, creating an uproar about the invasive predators.Officials “need to get a grip on pythons invading America’s Everglades,” Nelson wrote.
“They are threatening endangered wildlife there – and, Lord forbid, a visitor in the Everglades ever encounters one,” he wrote.
Nelson’s proposing an organized hunt to diminish the ever-growing python population in the ‘Glades. The posse could consist of park rangers or deputies and volunteers, Nelson suggested.
Read Nelson’s letter after the jump.
July 14, 2009
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Secretary Salazar:
As we have discussed, we need to get a grip on pythons invading America’s Everglades. Thus, I would offer two things.
First, I appreciate your input on my bill that would ban the import of Burmese pythons. Many of these dangerous snakes are making their way into the ‘Glades because they are being released by their owners. My legislation would classify pythons as an injurious animal and would prohibit their import and interstate trade.
Passage of this bill would put an end to people importing these things. And, I hope we never again would have to see what we saw in Florida three weeks ago: a toddler strangled to death by a pet python.
Second, when we visited the Everglades recently we heard a variety of ideas for capturing or killing many of the estimated 100,000-or-more pythons now roaming the ‘Glades. They are threatening endangered wildlife there – and, Lord forbid, a visitor in the Everglades ever encounters one.
One idea seems particularly promising. Some, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, appear open to an organized hunt. This is not intended in any way to open our national parks to hunting per se. Steps must be taken to protect the Florida Panther and other wildlife.
Instead, the U.S. Park Service, under your direction, would allow for a supervised hunt of pythons by park staff, authorized deputies or agents and volunteers. Given the serious threat from these snakes, I ask that you approve of taking this step.