On the eve of the state declaring open season on the reptiles, someone anonymously left two of the exotic snakes on the front doorstep of Wild Cargo Pets in
They've supported an organized hunt for years. But agree, it must be left to skilled professionals.
"It is a very, very, very strong animal not to be underestimated," says Wild Cargo's owner, Aaron Joyce.
So far the FWC says only trappers with specific python training will be allowed to participate, but currently, only about 20 people in the entire state, they say, qualify to legally hunt the snakes.
Compare that with an estimated 150,000 of the targeted reptiles spread out over tens of thousand of square miles and they admit their criteria may be self-limiting.
"Finding a python is not an easy matter. You can be out there for days and days before you find one. You may never find one," says the FWC's Gabriella Ferraro.
Another challenge? The hunt is limited to state lands, not federal. So the entire
"Federal land will be needed to open up eventually and I'm sure that they will do so... whether it's an organized hunt through them or through approved people, or whether they open it up to the public under certain guidelines," says Joyce.
FWC says it will monitor the program's progress and, if necessary, ease the requirements to allow more people to participate. This, they say, is a first step. Putting the squeeze on an exotic species already putting the squeeze on native wildlife, and in rare cases, people.
"Certainly it may be a limited basis now, but it would be something that if it's successful that we would open up," says Ferraro.
The state is requiring pythons which are captured to be killed on the spot.
That has the Humane Society of the
The group says the state should instead focus on banning the import and sale of Burmese Pythons.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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