Scientists dispute snake release in Florida ‘Garden of Eden’

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BRISTOL, Fla. (AP) – Scientists are arguing over the release of snakes into a Florida preserve known locally as “the original Garden of Eden.”

A dozen Eastern indigo snakes were released last week in The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in Florida’s Panhandle. Conservationists aim to reintroduce the non-venomous, federally threatened snakes into restored habitat.

According to a Tallahassee Democrat report, the Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy wants those snakes removed. Executive Director Bruce Means says the project should have released Gulf Coast indigo snakes instead. Means says recent data confirm the snakes are genetically different species.

Nature Conservancy North Florida Program Manager David Printiss said that data was reviewed before the snakes’ release, and researchers decided it “did not warrant splitting the indigos into two species.”

Eastern indigos are the largest native North American snake.


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