Last week the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 511, a bill from Representative Rooney (R-FL) that would add nine species of large constrictor snakes to the list of species that are prohibited from being imported or crossing state lines. Unfortunately, this positive effort was undermined by an amendment to allow a broad exemption for certain exhibitors of snakes, including many roadside zoos and circuses.
While NECIS applauds the effort of Representative Rooney and the committee for passing the legislation, NECIS cannot support the bill with such a broad loophole, and calls on Members of Congress to eliminate the loophole as it heads to the floor of the House of Representatives.
Before the markup of HR 511, NECIS sent in the attached letter (HouseJudiciary_HR511) urging support for the passage of the legislation.
These species of large constrictor snakes are having a devastating impact in the Florida Everglades. In fact, a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that small mammal populations in the Everglades are crashing, coinciding with increasing numbers of exotic pythons.
From the report:
The researchers found staggering declines in animal sightings: a drop of 99.3 percent among raccoons, 98.9 percent for opossums, 94.1 percent for white-tailed deer and 87.5 percent for bobcats. Along roads where python populations are believed to be smaller, declines were lower but still notable.
Rabbits and foxes, which were commonly spotted in 1996 and 1997, were not seen at all in the later counts.