Thursday, October 15, 2009

State Senator Sobel’s Ban on Giant Snakes Supported by Science

“We now have the scientific evidence required to support a full ban on non-native and invasive species of giant snakes like Burmese pythons,” said State Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) referring to an October 13th United States Geological Survey Risk-Assessment Report. The report concluded that nine species of giant snakes pose “high” or “medium” risks to large portions of the United States.

Sen. Sobel filed Senate Bill 318 which bans the import and sale of certain reptiles of concern and gives Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the ability to add new dangerous species to the prohibited list. The bill complements national legislation proposed by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and is supported by The Humane Society of the United States, The Nature Conservancy, The Audubon Society and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

“Our legislation will turn off the spigot, stopping the flow of dangerous reptiles into the State by prohibiting their import for personal use,” said Sobel. “These predatory snakes pose an increasingly dangerous hazard to humans and an urgent threat to Florida’s environment,” continued Sobel, referring to a Sumter County two-year-old girl who was killed by an escaped pet Burmese python in July of this year.

“Florida must be proactive and preventative. Other species like anacondas and large lizards, such as Nile Monitors, may become the next Burmese python unless we act now,” said Sen. Sobel. Experts believe Burmese pythons escaped from breeders or were released by pet owners and now form a self-sustaining population possibly numbering as high as 100,000.

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