U.S. to ban invasive snake species

Jan. 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. government Tuesday banned the import and interstate transportation of four non-native constrictor snake species that threaten sensitive ecosystems.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a rule on the Burmese python, the yellow anaconda, and the northern and southern African pythons, deeming them injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act to restrict their spread in the wild in the United States, a release from the U.S. Department of the Interior said Tuesday.

The invasive species are seen as a threat in the Florida Everglades and elsewhere, the release said.

"Thanks to the work of our scientists, [Florida] Sen. Bill Nelson, and others, there is a large and growing understanding of the real and immediate threat that the Burmese python and other invasive snakes pose to the Everglades and other ecosystems in the United States," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

"The Burmese python has already gained a foothold in the Florida Everglades, and we must do all we can to battle its spread and to prevent further human contributions of invasive snakes that cause economic and environmental damage."

The four species in the new ruling were assessed by the U.S. Geological Survey as having a high risk of establishing populations and spreading to other geographic areas, the release said.

Under the rule, interstate transport and importation of live individuals, gametes, viable eggs, or hybrids of the four species into the United States will be prohibited.

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