Pythons have damaged the Everglades National Park


01/02/2012

A marked reduction in mammals are widely distributed in the Everglades National Park in Florida as it turned out, was associated with living in it the giant Burmese pythons, according to a study conducted by Michael Dorcas, a professor of biology, and his colleagues from Davidson College. Data published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The analysis for the first time confirmed the impact on the population of pythons animals that inhabit the national park area of over 6,000 square meters. meters for 11 years. The victims of tiger pythons tend to be medium-sized mammals, but predators, which reached a length of 4 meters, and loved to regale large species of animals such as deer and alligators.

"The strong decline in populations of mammals points to an incredible number of pythons that live today in the Everglades National Park and the urgent need for a more intensive study of their impact on the environment of the park, as well as in the development of effective methods of control" - said Dorcas.

The most significant decline in species, including the complete disappearance of these species, such as raccoons, rabbits, opossums, it was noted by experts in the remote southern areas of the park, where pythons are found in large numbers. In this area, the population of raccoons decreased to 99.3%, possums - 98.9% and lynx - 87.5%. Marsh and American rabbits and foxes and is not found.

The researchers collected information through the systematic observation of the animals living in the park and beyond, considering the amount of both living and dead animals on the road. Throughout the study, the experts walked nearly 65,000 kilometers between 2003 and 2011 and compared their data with similar studies conducted in 1996 and 1997year in the same places, but still before the National Park Everglades pythons are settled.

Biologists have also examined similar from the point of view of ecology area, close to the northern part of the park, where pythons have not yet been discovered. There, as previously noted an abundance of wildlife. In places where the pythons have appeared only recently, however, mammal population decreased slightly. The saddest picture was observed where settled most pythons - some species were not detected at all.

The study authors suggested that one reason for such a strong decline of populations in such a short period of time is the "naivete" of victims who have not yet learned how to defend themselves against large predatory snakes have never before seen in this ecosystem.

Florida authorities are seriously concerned about the rapid spread of tiger pythons in the state. As the study showed, especially a lot of snakes inhabit the Everglades National Park. More than a thousand individuals who are descendants of the lost or discarded pet owners manual snakes massively destroy all life in the vicinity of the park.

Fashion for Burmese pythons in Florida appeared in the 90s. Snakes were imported by the thousands, and the purchase of this pet was available to everyone. Total from 1996 to 2006 in the state was brought about one hundred thousand individuals. But small harmless snakes soon grew up, sometimes reaching a length of 6 meters or more, which is why the owners fearful of trying to quickly get rid of them, and cast out into the street, where they started a very active breed.

Original: Sciencedaily


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