It has taken five years of political infighting to finally implement a commonsense federal ban on the importation and sale across state lines of the Burmese python, which has become an environmental nightmare for the Everglades' fragile ecosystem. The ban, championed by Sen. Bill Nelson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is a much-needed first step in restoring the environmental integrity of the Everglades, which has been threatened by this nonnative predator.
Under the new rule, it will be illegal to import and sell across state lines the Burmese python, along with the northern and southern African python, as well as the yellow anaconda. People who already own one of these snakes are allowed to keep them but cannot sell or transport them across state lines.
The urgent need for the ban arose as irresponsible owners, unable to care for the snakes as they grew too large, released the reptiles into the wild. That created a public safety crisis in some neighborhoods and an environmental crisis in the Everglades. It's already a struggle for survival for many of the native species populating the Everglades. The Burmese python ban will make it a little fairer fight.