YubaNet.com
Thursday, October 30 2014

            We Deliver News to the Sierra
News Fire News spacer Latest News spacer Regional News spacer California News spacer USA News spacer World News spacer Op-Ed spacer Enviro News spacer Sci Tech News spacer Life spacer Odd News spacer Cartoons spacer
Features The Calendar features features Weather features Sierra NightSky features features features Road Conditions features Home spacer
US
 

48,000 People Call on Last Remaining Georgia "Rattlesnake Roundup" to Switch to Humane Wildlife Festival


    Google+    

By: Center for Biological Diversity

RS9818_Pierson_Whigham_2-scr.jpg
Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup 2012. Image: Todd Pierson
ATLANTA, Jan. 23, 2013 - This weekend Whigham, Ga., hosts its annual "rattlesnake roundup" — a lethal and cruel contest in which prizes are awarded to hunters who capture the greatest number of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. (The rattlers are then killed en masse.) The Center for Biological Diversity and its allies today presented a petition with more than 48,000 signatures to the Whigham Community Club asking that the state's last roundup change to a wildlife-friendly festival where no snakes are killed.

All of Georgia's other roundups have abandoned the outdated practice of removing rare rattlers from the wild. Last year Claxton, Ga., replaced its roundup with the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, which displays captive rattlesnakes, along with many other educational wildlife exhibits. While attendance at the Whigham roundup dropped in past years, the new wildlife festival in Claxton received a boost in attendance and high praise from environmental groups, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, biologists and others who have lobbied for years to end rattlesnake roundups.

"The eastern diamondbacks targeted by the Whigham roundup are rapidly disappearing all across the southeastern United States, and in some states they've more or less vanished," said Collette Adkins Giese, a biologist and attorney at the Center who works to protect rare reptiles and amphibians. "I'm hopeful that Whigham roundup sponsors will soon realize that they don't need to kill imperiled snakes to have a successful community festival."

At least four states (Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama) still hold lethal roundups. Analysis of data from four roundups in the southeastern United States shows a steady decline in the weights of prizewinning eastern diamondbacks and the number collected; this once-common species is being pushed toward extinction not only by hunting pressure but also by habitat loss and road mortality.

In 2011, the Center — along with allies and Dr. Bruce Means, an expert on the eastern diamondback rattlesnake — filed a petition to protect eastern diamondbacks under the Endangered Species Act. Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the venomous snake may deserve a place on the list of protected species and initiated a full status review.

"When rattlers are collected at the Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup this weekend, we hope that it will be for the last time," said Olivia and Carter Ries, elementary-school-aged founders of a Georgia-based environmental group called One More Generation. "There is no reason to kill these rare snakes. We're sure that most people that go to the roundup just want to see some amazing snakes and have a fun day."

The eastern diamondback is the largest rattlesnake in the world. Adults are typically 4 to 5 feet long and weigh 4 to 5 pounds, but a big snake can reach 6 feet in length and weigh 12 pounds or more. Scientific studies over the past decade have documented range-wide population declines and significant range contractions for the eastern diamondback.

People fear rattlesnakes, but in reality eastern diamondbacks pose a very small public-safety risk. The snakes are certainly venomous, but more people are killed every year by lightning strikes and bee stings. In fact, the majority of snake bites occur when humans try to handle or kill snakes — so rattlesnake roundups themselves endanger public health by encouraging the public to do just that. Still, malicious killings by those who perceive the snakes as a threat are contributing to its decline.

 

Help us bring you more news. Be a real reader: Support YubaNet

By submitting a comment you consent to our rules. You must use your real first and last name, not a nickname or alias. A comment here is just like a letter to the editor or a post on Facebook. Thank you.

 

Latest Headlines

US

Suit to Nix Double-Crested Cormorant Shoot-on-Sight Orders

Oklahoma Women At Risk of Losing Access to Non-Surgical Abortion on November 1

Blackwater convictions: “The exception, not the rule” – UN expert body calls for global regulation of private security

Migrant detention "abuse" can scar children for life

Oklahoma Judge Greenlights Unconstitutional Clinic Shutdown Law

Update: New York City and CDC Report Positive Tests for Ebola in Volunteer International Aid Worker

Most U.S. adults fail to meet recommended daily levels of 10 key nutrients

Americans toss 40 percent of food produced, while 50 million go hungry; New report raises concerns about food waste in U.S.

Owners of Safari Company Indicted for Illegal Rhino Hunts

New York City Reports Positive Test for Ebola in Volunteer International Aid Worker


More

 

 

 

 

NEWS . Fire News . Latest . Regional . California . USA . World . Op-Ed . Enviro . Sci/Tech . Life . Odd News . Cartoons
FEATURES . The Calendar .Weather . Sierra NightSky. Road Conditions
YubaNet.com . Advertising. About Us . Support YubaNet . Contact Us . Terms of Use . Privacy

YubaNet.com © 1999-2014
Nevada City, California (530) 478-9600