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  • “In Defense of Everglades Pythons”

    Posted by Jonathan on August 20th, 2012 (All posts by )

    Partial sanity about the environment.

    The included video interview with the journalist Emma Marris is interesting. She makes the reasonable points that 1) the environment is always changing, so determining a baseline for “pristine” is impossible, 2) humans are part of the environment and 3) many natural environments that we take for granted, such as Hawaiian forests, are populated heavily by “non-native” species that were introduced so long ago that no one now thinks to object to them. This is the environmentalist version of Saint-Exupéry’s observation that people who object to technology are typically objecting only to new technology.

    Why is this mere partial sanity? Marris points out that the pythons are here to stay but doesn’t seem to consider whether allowing people to hunt them might be a good way to control the snake population. But perhaps I am being too critical.

    (An earlier post on this topic is here.)

     

    5 Responses to ““In Defense of Everglades Pythons””

    1. Dan from Madison Says:

      Several years ago someone got a but up their butt and they re-introduced wolves into northern Wisconsin. I can’t remember the reason why. Perhaps to help control the deer herd, but I doubt it since they only introduced a small amount of wolves and we have 1-1.5 million deer.

      Anyway, now there is a wolf hunt proposed and there are people objecting. But it has to be done or there will be some major nasty coming the way to farmers up there. Wolves much prefer the easy prey of cattle to deer.

      Here is the 2011 depredation map:
      http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/wolf/documents/2011_WolfDepsThreatsMap.pdf

      To put a point on it, the only way to put it back natural is to put it back to essentially zero, or there must be a limited hunt every year to cull the herds. Or they will reproduce in a manner that wouldn’t be good for anyone.

      For the enviros or any other naturalist not to understand this is nuts. I don’t see why a python hunt would be bad at all.

      If we didn’t have the big deer hunt every fall that harvests approximately three hundred thousand animals I simply cannot imagine what the deer population would do here.

    2. fnn Says:

      Northern WI and the UP are too white-that’s why they set the wolves loose. I don’t think USG considers the UP to be fit for human habitation-that’s because I’ve never heard of any Somali refugees being sent there.

    3. John Burgess Says:

      I think Florida could earn a bit of money through special licenses (and perhaps even paying bounties) for hunting the boas and pythons, and maybe the monster iguanas, too.

    4. tomw Says:

      I had heard Florida had a hard freeze that killed a lot of the boas, perhaps eradicating them all. Then I heard of the humongous mama that gave birth to 50 little ones. Who to believe?
      If a single female can have 50 progeny at a time, that does not bode well for alligator, croc, deer, small animals, the Florida panther, your dog, your cat, perhaps your child. There will be too many to prevent a lot of predation. When it starts to hurt, there will be a reaction, but it will cost until that time. Their only ‘natural’ predator is the alligator, and I’m not too sure how that balance will turn out. I I think the boa can ‘slink’ and hide better than the gator, so it will survive hunting better, and evade searches.
      I would not be surprised to read about some enterprising idiot releasing some Pirhana and some Chinese ‘snakeheads’ into the local rivers and lakes. Ugh. Get a good hurrican surge, and they’ll be in ALL lakes, rivers and sloughs.

      tom

    5. Jonathan Says:

      The winter before last was relatively cold. It probably killed a lot of snakes. There were certainly plenty of snakes that weren’t killed. At some point, if the snake and prey populations follow typical patterns, the snake population will outrun the prey population, many snakes will starve or won’t reproduce, prey populations will increase and the cycle will repeat. People will become accustomed to the presence of big snakes in areas where there aren’t many people, just as people became accustomed to other non-native species such as iguanas. Maybe there will be political pressure to eradicate the snakes or at least reduce their numbers. However, I am guessing that the snakes are here to stay.