Sunday, July 19, 2009

Objicient over Orlando's ophic ordeal...

Snakes on the glades – Florida launches mass python hunt. "Earlier this month, a two-year-old girl, Shaiunna Hare, was strangled to death in her bedroom near Orlando by a python belonging to her mother's boyfriend. The snake had escaped its glass cage during the night and wrapped itself around the child's crib." [The Guardian]

The death of Shaiunna has sparked a state licensed hunt for trappers to hunt pythons. The numbers are crazy and extrapolated to strike fear into readers and residents: "up to 100,000 on the loose owing to exotic pet fad" but this would be based on the fact that the snakes could reproduce rapidly and lay up to 100 eggs at a time.

Now I remember reading and watching this news two weeks ago [BBC] and what was clear from the start was that this a pet albino python that hadn't been locked away properly; the death of the toddler is a real tragedy, especially in this horrific way - we can hope she was asleep - but why the hunt and proposed slaughter?

I guess the glades would make a perfect home for a python and they could thrive but when a dog attacks, or an alligator, the culprit is usually put down but there is no search and destroy hysteria: what's more, many children are killed by their parents, far far more. The report tells us that 'The Humane Society of the United States said a ban on the trade in pythons would be more effective than any hunt for wild snakes', indeed, as long as it was strictly enforced but unfortunately...

"If the initial hunt proves promising, many more trapping licences could be issued. The hunters are ready for the kill."

Edit: Monday 20th, info from last year about just this threat: INVASIVE SPECIES: Burmese pythons, an invasive species in south Florida, could spread to one third of United States [The Conservation Report]

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