Wildlife officials in Florida hired Indian snake hunters to help them catch pythons. To get rid of Burmese pythons, wildlife officials decided to use the help of two snake hunters. Burmese pythons are known to have a diet based on small mammals. Some of these species which inhabit a tropical area in the US are threatened by extinction.
Vaidivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan, two snake hunters from the Irula tribe of Tamil Nadu, were brought in the US together with two translators. They are supposed to work with detection dogs to catch giant pythons. The officials of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) were surprised to see that the two men managed to find 13 pythons in only eight days.
Among these huge snakes, there was a 16-foot-long female python. Officials of FWC and University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFS) described these achievements as being part of a unique project. Kristen Sommers, the section leader of the FWC’s Wildlife Impact Management Section, claimed that she hopes that Indian snake hunters will teach people from Florida how to capture pythons.
Wildlife officials stated that they are working with the two Indian hunters to acquire the skills of hunting these huge snakes which jeopardize the populations of small mammals. The Irula tribesmen focus on the removal of these harmful pythons. During the first eight days on the job, the two Indian hunters managed to capture 13 pythons.
When they paid their first visit to Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge on North Key Largo, they managed to catch four pythons with the help of specialists from US Fish and Wildlife Service. Generally, the Irula tribe’s primary occupation is to find pythons. Officials from Florida argued that they are currently working with the Indian snake hunters to reveal more useful programs which could help them eliminate more non-native pythons in Florida.
The UF/IFAS, the FWC and public land managers have been collaborating to spot environmentally sensitive locations which would benefit from the removal of targeted pythons. Among other sites, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is listed due to the decreased number of federally endangered Key Largo woodrat together with many other bird species living there. Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife biologist at UF/IFAS, and his group of researchers are working with the two Indian snake hunters.
Image courtesy of: flickr