projects > development of control tools for invasive pythons in greater everglades ecosystems
Development of control tools for invasive pythons in Greater Everglades ecosystems
The Burmese Python (Python molurus) is native to south and southeast Asia, and is very popular in the international live animal trade. A burgeoning invasive population of these snakes, likely originating from released pets, is now present and expanding in the greater Everglades ecosystem. This population is continuing its northward expansion at a rapid pace, and has already moved well beyond the boundaries of NPS lands. The recent discovery of a Burmese Python on Key Largo containing two ESA-listed Key Largo woodrats implies that the python is able to cross saltwater, and may threaten to colonize the rest of the Florida Keys. While the existence of high-density populations of a large-bodied invasive predator is of obvious conservation concern, only slight progress has been made towards development of appropriate control tools for Burmese Pythons. Multiple state and federal agencies have expressed the urgent need for control tool development, with several requests for assistance from Everglades National Park and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For over two decades, the USGS Brown Treesnake Project has focused on development and operational assessment of control tools for invasive snakes, and is thus a logical choice for development of control tools for invasive Burmese Pythons. This project will focus on designing and assessing the efficacy of several trap types for capturing Burmese Pythons, with the goal of applying results to control of pythons in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Monument, Key Largo, and elsewhere.