Monday, January 25, 2010

Ending Rattlesnake Roundups


The Tallahassee Democrat reports on the need to end rattlesnake roundups.  The "roundups" are annual rituals that involves pumping gas fumes into gopher tortoise burrows and collecting the eastern diamond back rattlesnakes that flee the fumes.  The article notes that the roundups are both unnecessary and inhumane.  In addition to harming and killing the snakes that are collected, the gas makes the burrows uninhabitable for years and adversely impacts threatened species such as gopher tortoises and indigo snakes.  Gassing the snakes is also illegal, according to a Georgia official quoted in the article.  At one point, there were twenty-three roundups, but only three still exist.  One of the former roundups in San Antonio, Florida, has changed to a festival supporting education and appreciation for the snakes.  Two of the three remaining roundups are in Whigham and Claxton, Georgia.  The article ends with the request that people stop attending:
The Whigham roundup will be held Saturday. The Claxton roundup is planned for March 13 and 14. If we don't attend, organizers will get the message that it's time to support another type of event that encourages conservation and preservation, rather than the wholesale slaughter of wildlife and the destruction of their habitats.
For more details, read "Effects of Rattlesnake Roundups on the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake," Feb. 2009, by D. Bruce Means, at http://www.herpconbio.org/Volume_4/Issue_2/Means_2009.pdf.

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