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July 31, 2009

The Everglades Python Hunt

Photo: heartajack on Flickr using Creative Commons

by Sara Tucker

Not to be pushy, but you've simply got to read this update from Naples Daily News intern Whitney Bryen on the big snake hunt going on in the Florida Everglades. Hilarious, scary, sad, and somehow important all at the same time, her article begins: "Seven men with snake hooks and pocket knives will not cure the problem of pythons in the Everglades, but that doesn't stop Shawn Heflick from trying."

Earlier this month, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar ("prodded by alarmed Floridians") held a no-nonsense, tough-on-snakes press conference to get things rolling. "Burmese pythons are an invasive species that have no place in the Everglades and threaten its delicate ecosystem," Salazar said. "We are committed to aggressively combating this threat, including having trained and well-supervised volunteers hunt down and remove snakes." The Sun Sentinel has more, including this info: "A python hotline has been established for public reporting of pythons. The number is 305-815-2080."

Finally, no serious news story would be complete without punditry. The Great Florida Snake Hunt makes sense at least from a political standpoint, writes Mark Lane, a columnist for the Daytona Beach News-Journal. What does it really mean when a U.S. senator announces to the press that "we need to get a grip on pythons" and "there's one way to do this: Kill the snakes"? Find out here.

Also worth a peek this week:
* Smartphones tackle invasive species (National Geographic)
* How swimmers "could play a profound role" in climate change (Wired)


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