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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Nelson wants Everglades snake hunt



Sounds like a Carl Hiaasen plot, but it's for real:

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson wants a kill-'em-all python hunt in the Everglades this winter. He sent a letter (see jump) today to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging him to allow deputized agents and volunteers into the park to curtail the growing menace.

Setting aside a real problem, we wonder what title you'd give this Hiaasen-like story.

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. 


Bill Nelson


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:52pm]


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