Friday, June 01, 2018

Hunters with shotguns to go after pythons in Everglades National Park

The roar of shotguns will sound in Everglades National Park, as the war intensifies against the Burmese pythons that have devastated the park’s wildlife. The park announced Thursday that for the first time it will allow state-contracted python hunters to pursue the giant snakes within its boundaries. And for the first time, it will allow the use of firearms — shotguns only — to kill them. Although the park already uses more than two dozen of its own volunteers to catch pythons, the new initiative will triple the maximum number of snake hunters from 40 to 120. The decision follows years of resistance by the national park, where hunting is prohibited. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission previously had been rebuffed in attempts to get state-authorized python hunters to work within its boundaries. “We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve realized that this is a significant problem that requires us to be open-minded and flexible in the way that we approach it,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades National Park. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, an enthusiastic hunter whose department includes the National Park Service, has pressed for more federal land to be opened up to hunting. During an October visit to the park, Zinke expressed interest in “finding ways to invite citizens that want to be part of the solution to come into the park, partner with us and help us tackle the problem,” Ramos said...MORE

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