A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

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luv_the_smellof_musk
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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by luv_the_smellof_musk » February 14th, 2014, 5:31 pm

IMO Ernie is the voice of reason on this thread.


>>Should not the large constrictor breeding industry have regulated itself 20 or 30 years ago?
There is no proof that the pythons were established by breeders. They might have come from anywhere, we may as well speculate that animals rights activists put them there to further their agenda.


>>What comes to mind are the deli cup shows, as early as the ‘80s where you could (and still can today), with or without proper >>training or experience, buy for $30, a giant constrictor that, if well cared for, can grow to a lethal length in just a few years.

You can also buy large dogs, horses, and many animals far more dangerous than a large snake. It makes more sense to tighten regulations on horses than snakes.

>>The worst is that the animal is mistreated by keeper ignorance, somehow grows to 8 ft +, escapes the 30 gal aquarium, and kills >>Fido, Felix, or baby sister.

It's possible an electrical line might fall and have the same effect. Would you recommend we all turn the lights off and read by candle?

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by VanAR » February 14th, 2014, 5:50 pm

There is no proof that the pythons were established by breeders. They might have come from anywhere, we may as well speculate that animals rights activists put them there to further their agenda.
You can also buy large dogs, horses, and many animals far more dangerous than a large snake. It makes more sense to tighten regulations on horses than snakes.
Wow, so if the breeders aren't responsible, and the private owners aren't responsible, I guess they must have just fallen out of the sky? :crazyeyes:

We can debate the merits of banning ownership (which I don't agree with), tightening regulations (which makes sense), etc., but simply denying the role of the pet trade in this (as well as many other invasive species introductions, like cats, African clawed frogs, red-eared sliders, etc.) is ridiculous and takes credence away from any of your arguments that are actually reasonable.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Carl D. May » February 15th, 2014, 4:44 am

luv_the_smellof_musk wrote:IMO Ernie is the voice of reason on this thread.


>>Should not the large constrictor breeding industry have regulated itself 20 or 30 years ago?
There is no proof that the pythons were established by breeders. They might have come from anywhere, we may as well speculate that animals rights activists put them there to further their agenda.
I guess that on the surface, my belief that the original pythons in the ENP came from breeders seems to have no basis. I see your point.
But there is more to it than just my wild idea. One thing I didn't mention is that a couple of the python breeders that I knew of back then were also responsible for numerous other intentional releases over the years and were quite proud of them. They were just the sort of folks who would do something like that.
Lastly, they didn't live that far away so it wasn't like they drove their stock down from Georgia or California. They were south Florida folks.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by regalringneck » February 15th, 2014, 5:17 am

... gotta love the fl python threads ... tho i'd rather we were dealing w/ boas than burms :p ( i wonder why boas never made it over on a debris barge during one of the alti-thermal periods ?)
When i 1st started reading about the mammal declines, i was miffed ( & sniffed that rarely recognized rat called "groupthink" ) that the live & DoR pythons observed were not also reported.
Pity too w/ all the fl herpers we have on this site that no-one (besides me) has ever bothered to post the # & size of the pythons they've found/100 mi driven. Ideally this data would encompass pre & post the big freeze of 2010. I think that would make a great study/report. Maybe a chunk of this info is already in the NAFH database ???
Kudoes to Josh for early recognition of the correlation, if not yet association.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Josh Holbrook » February 15th, 2014, 7:44 am

Hey Regal,

I know it's not a huge dataset, but we noted the number of pythons (and kilometers cruised) in table I here: http://fieldventures.files.wordpress.co ... 7-24-e.pdf

All in all it was 9 nights of cruising and 6 pythons.

Interestingly enough this was at the height of the pythons population (2009) before the 2010 crash due to cold weather. Simple predator and prey dynamics would guess that if a predator decreases dramatically, the prey should increase - the whole Lynx/Snowshoe Hare thing. I'm not actively recording herps/mammals anymore (I believe Frank Mazzotti's lab still is) - but just anecdotally, guess what we're seeing a lot less of? Pythons. I'm averaging one every four or five roadcruising trips (remember it was around one every 1.5 trips in the 2009 study). You know what we see a lot more of? Mammals; especially small/quicker breeders. And by more, I mean you actually might see an opossum or raccoon on your average cruise through ENP - you still wont be bothered (except by vultures) if you leave food out at the campgrounds.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by regalringneck » February 16th, 2014, 8:08 am

.. thnx for the link Josh, and I stand corrected; You & your co-author did indeed provide your python observations, good on you! Now im gonna have to dive into that messy python folder again, ... interestingly my statistic from may 2010; 2 for ~ 1150 mi ( & about1/2 of that out of the everglades & n. of the tamiami ) is very much in alignment w/ your average. I hope someone replicates your routes & soon. It would also be worth noting by locals; how long a typical DoR python & mammal can be readily detected along the roadside; the hordes of vultures down there are freekn unbelievable. Here in Az; a typical DoR is gobbled < 24 hrs., but it varies considerably depending on the area & traffic patterns.
I was fortunate to be able to monitor meso-carnivores 4 days a week, for a decade here in az; disease outbreaks regularly decimated our local bobcats/racoons/ringtails/grey foxes & 2 sps of skunks, interestingly coyotes were little effected.
The next 25 years are going to be interesting down there no doubt.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Josh Holbrook » February 16th, 2014, 3:14 pm

regalringneck wrote:\ I hope someone replicates your routes & soon.
I know UF started up a mammal and herp monitoring program that I was helping with for quite a while, using road surveys. I don't know what (or when) they'll be publishing though, but it will be interesting to look at such a big dataset at some point. Mike Rochford might be able to say something about it, but I haven't worked with them much lately so I don't know.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 16th, 2014, 6:34 pm

Ernie, all my life I've dabbled in both worlds of citizen science and deli cups. I understand your level of frustration and ranting from what seems like an attack by extremists like PETA and opportunistic politicians and media, but I think you'll find most folks on this forum are in the middle.

I certainly am. It drives me crazy when I hear some town (or even state) bans something (herp or otherwise) based on ignorance, but I also realize the scientific process is self checking over time, so if a study or its conclusion is flawed, it will be reined in by peer reviews.

Josh’s point of civility is well taken if you’re trying to sway the opinion of folks who could be sympathetic to your cause.
If you’re ranting and making attacks on individuals because it makes you feel better, then you’re no friend of your cause.
.
.
As someone who has done far more then "dabble". This is a somewhat condescending and very off target comment. I am not part of any " cause ". The people who yap about bans and try to place me into a category they feel helps their position are simply ignorant of the facts. I have done no ranting and I am certainly not concerned with swaying anyone's opinion. I'm simply expressing my views. Views that are shaped by education and knowledge as well as insight. Not personal bias or a show of hands. None of my detractors have been able to illustrate much in the way of a well rounded knowledge and background on this topic. To the contrary my detractors simply try to paint the picture as,

My role in the live trade automatically makes my views skewed and biased by greed. My hatred of the “GCRAP" stems from the fact that they are standing in my way, spoiling things for me. Im just some amateur snake collector who knows nothing of " real science". This in contrast to team “GCRAP" who are not concerned about their careers or funding or anything beyond the pure and sanctimonious quest for biological knowledge. The member's of “GCRAP" are completely honest and without ulterior motive.

If thinking that makes these individuals feel better about defending their cause. That's fine with me.


Let me ask the experts this simple question. How did the current bans on the trade of Burmese pythons in the US impact Ernie Eison. Its multiple choice.

A. He was making a small fortune off them. Now the greedy snake slinging Ernie is upset and angey. He's screwed and hates the “GCRAP" because he blames it all on them.

B. If Ernie wants to maintain these animals in large professional facility for personal study the way he has for decade's AND DOES NOT breed and sell them OR make a single penny from them. He is breaking the law and WILL BE PROISICUTED.
Wow, so if the breeders aren't responsible, and the Wow, so if the breeders aren't responsible, and the private owners aren't responsible, I guess they must have just fallen out of the sky?
Depending on what is meant by private owners. Personal pet owners? The type of people Bob Reed describes as self-proclaimed Herp experts (i.e., they once owned a ball python)?
What about bootleg jobbers. I don't consider these people private owners or true breeders. They are by far the most likely source.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by BillMcGighan » February 16th, 2014, 6:49 pm

EE
I have done no ranting and I am certainly not concerned with swaying anyone's opinion. I'm simply expressing my views.
OK, then,
Good luck with that.
I hope you continue get folks to play your game. :thumb:

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Josh Holbrook » February 17th, 2014, 6:48 am

WSTREPS wrote:None of my detractors have been able to illustrate much in the way of a well rounded knowledge and background on this topic.
Wait, what? If people with a history of peer reviewed publications, combined decades of herpkeeping experience, and such don't get at least get you to respect enough to admit they are competent, what will?

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Daryl Eby » February 17th, 2014, 6:57 am

Josh Holbrook wrote:what will?
Agreement with his opinions. :?

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 17th, 2014, 8:08 am

Let me ask the experts this simple question. How did the current bans on the trade of Burmese pythons in the US impact Ernie Eison. Its multiple choice.

A. He was making a small fortune off them. Now the greedy snake slinging Ernie is upset and angey. He's screwed and hates the “GCRAP" because he blames it all on them.

B. If Ernie wants to maintain these animals in large professional facility for personal study the way he has for decade's AND DOES NOT breed and sell them OR make a single penny from them. He is breaking the law and WILL BE PROISICUTED.


Ernie Eison[/quote]

I am going to select A. B is just a bald faced lie. There are posts scattered all over the internet of people commenting about the boa and python morphs they have purchased from you. You engaged in captive propagation of these species to create designer freaks. You're raising them in terrariums and sweater boxes and raising rodents en masse to feed them. Is that your idea of contributing to research on invasives annd wildlife ecology? Those that protest the loudest are often times the most guilty...

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 19th, 2014, 8:52 am

Wait, what? If people with a history of peer reviewed publications, combined decades of herpkeeping experience, and such don't get at least get you to respect enough to admit they are competent, what will?
I would like to know where I have said any of the members of the “GCRAP" are not competent? To the contrary, it's giving them credit for their COMPETENCE that validates my points.

The people who rant against me have either not read what I actually said (a common failing) or have done so with complete prejudice (not wanting to see the forest for the trees). A history of peer reviewed publications, combined decades of herpkeeping experience does not necessary give someone a well rounded or educated opinion on a topic. Their experience is relevant. I have a wealth of herpetological experience but I am not an expert on the salamander's of California. The scientific process may be self checking over time when it comes to physics, but biological issues such as what's been discussed in this thread are a different story.

Team “GCRAP" used unsubstantiated biological accounts from a paper written over 100 years ago. The “GCRAP" crew has no issue with the use of anecdotal accounts when it supports their objective. To the contrary anecdotal information that goes against what they are trying to push is quickly dismissed as "hearsay".

To this degree the research performed by “GCRAP" has been executed with the goal of trying to fuel the fire for more funding support.
Climate maps showing the pythons potential range across the US have nothing to do with the animal's removal from the Everglades Eco system, nor does trying to tie the snakes to a decline in the mammal populations. These angles are meant to spark alarm, the idea being to make everyone think the Everglades is on fire with pythons and that the “GCRAP" fire department must be called to put it out or else.

To this point there is no verifiable scientific or otherwise, biological evidence proving that there is a cause for alarm at the expense of the pythons. There is little to suggest that the pythons are not simply filling an ecological niche in the same manor as they would in their native range. A niche in an ecosystem (the Everglades) that is comprised of 25% or more exotic species and has been radically changed by man made geological alterations to the system's natural structure.

Thru out much of its native range Burmese python populations have suffered dramatic declines. In some places it has been extirpated. The python is being promoted by the “GCRAP" as an indiscriminate eating machine devouring all in its path. In the places the declines can be attributed to over collection and not massive habitat loss. It certainly stands to reason, in these places the mammal populations must be growing at extreme rates. There is no documented information that illustrates any such occurrence is taking place. Furthering the idea that Everglades prey species may be “naïve” to large constrictor snakes as opposed to those found in the pythons natural range. Is again in poor form. When compared to pythons in Southeast Asia the snakes in the Everglades are not exhibiting accelerated growth rates ( size and weight ) or elevated reproduction rates. Things that would be highly suggestive of animals experiencing extreme rates of hunting success. What is to be considered is that the pythons are no better at capturing prey in the Everglades then they are anywhere else. To this is what the biological evidence points to.

What some call the largest decline in wading birds in known history took place in the everglades. This decline long before the pythons introduction. Since the pythons introduction the birds have established a major recovery that continues to this day. Perhaps the next “GCRAP" should be titled;

Incredible wading bird success coincides with the proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park

As expected. No one could answer my simple question. The single attempt was a poor effort at taking a cheap shot. And incorrect.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 19th, 2014, 9:01 am

As expected. No one could answer my simple question. The single attempt was a poor effort at taking a cheap shot. And incorrect.

Ernie Eison[/quote]

It's real easy to lie on the internet. isn't it? Another graduate from the Hank Molt School of Delusional Paranoia.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 20th, 2014, 9:34 am

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, can attain a maximum
length of over 20 feet (though none this size have yet been encountered in
Florida), and are capable of producing clutches from 8 to 107 eggs, with the
average clutch being 60–80 eggs (Harvey et al., 2008). Nests have been recorded in the Everglades since 2006 (Harvey et al., 2008).

They are a subspecies of theIndian python (P. molurus), a species which ranges across much of the Asian continent.
The burmese python is not a subspecies of the Indian python (P. molurus), I believe as of 2009 the Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is a distinct species. This paper could have been completed before this taxonomical change took place. Explaining this minor error.

I would love to know how these reproduction statistics were sourced and verified. I would think any scientist educated in the biology of these animals would dismiss such obvious erroneous information, not include it in their own work. Clearly the average clutch is not 60–80 eggs or even near to that. 30 to 50 eggs is a more appropriate average clutch estimate. Clutch's of 60 eggs or more would be considered exceptional. I have never seen one over 70 out of hundreds of first hand examples. Report's of wild 80 to 100 egg clutch's are not credible.

It was reported that scientists discovered a python with 90 eggs in the Everglades. Researcher Mike Roachford told me he had photos to prove it. I said show me. I then told him this was not possible and went on to explain, What the scientist had done was catch a big female, open her up and count the follicles, this is no where near the same thing as discovering a snake with viable eggs. A scientist who is familiar with and understands the reproductive biology of these animals understands that these snakes often produce large numbers of follicles but this does not equate to clutch size. To his credit after checking, Mike Roachford explained that I was in fact correct.

Also it is always said that these snakes reach over 20 feet, but there is not a single verifiable specimen to confirm this. It is all hearsay. To that end tens of thousands of Burmese pythons have been accumulated via the skin trade and you will not find a 20 footer in the cluster. The people involved in the skin trade know that live specimens in excess of 20 feet are far more valuable alive than dead, They contact dealers when something extra big comes in. In the past 40 years only a few reticulated pythons have made the mark, no Burmese pythons. I have never seen a legitimate 20 foot, captive or otherwise Burmese python. Typically collected wild Burmese pythons are 6 to 14 feet, animals up to 16 and possibly slightly more than 18 feet are in the minority. The Florida specimen's I have caught have all been with in the typically collected size range. The Florida 18 footers that have been collected are questionable.
One of the problems which has arisen is managing the python population, for which no well-supported scientific population estimate exists. However, well over 1,000 pythons have been removed from southern Florida to date and yet they remain extremely common (Harvey et al., 2008).
They captured well over 1,000 pythons. Whatever well over 1000 pythons meant at the time that statement was made. And this collection took place over what time frame? The animals according to Harvey remain extremely common even after all these snakes have been caught. Possibly somebody should throw this person a clue as to how species cropping works. In snake species the collection of a restrained number of animals based in chance encounter will not result in a tangible reduction of a species' overall population. If the number of Burmese pythons was say 10,000 animals (a very modest population given the size of the range) the collection of 300 or possibly 400 hundred snakes annually would not likely noticeably diminish the size of this population. It certainly is no indicator that the species is extremely common.
ENP is a bastion of mostly undisturbed habitat –
approximately 600,000 hectares - and is home to 76 mammal species and over three hundred taxa of birds (Brown et al., 2006).
The ENP is a bastion of mostly undisturbed habitat? Now that's a good one but the author forgot to mention that's its also home to unicorns and rainbows as well that could also be destroyed by the pythons.

Ernie Eison

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Josh Holbrook » February 20th, 2014, 10:11 am

All I'm getting from this is something along the lines of "Let's put all this stuff out here and see if any of it makes any sense." It's obvious you're not interested in friendship, knowledge or insight building discussion; so I'm just not going to respond to you anymore until you move more towards that direction.

If you have concerns you think legitimate on the python problem (or lack thereof) may I suggest you research and publish them in a peer reviewed journal? It would certainly give you a larger microphone to the coverup, conspiracy and poor research (and models) of the python biologists out there - the media would be hounding you for interviews everyday. I mean, that would expose the world a little more to how little your points are actual points - that is, I still don't know what your point is besides "we don't know what we think we know about the pythons," because if it was simply being against the bans you would think you might try to work with those who agree with you on it (**Cough** **Cough**) and who have a little bit of experience with them in the wild. Either way, best of luck with whatever it is you're trying to do with whatever point it is you're trying to make.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by azatrox » February 20th, 2014, 11:53 am

Here are some questions on the regulations of the big constrictors (and apologies to the OP for this entire hijack):

Were these banning movements, which may or may not be justified, not expected by the breeders?

Should not the large constrictor breeding industry have regulated itself 20 or 30 years ago?


1) This of course assumes that "the breeders" worked in some sort of collaborative effort to market and sell their product(s). I don't believe any such collaboration took place, as "reptile folks" are notorious for being "fringe, against the grain" folks not overly concerned with cooperation and forethought. While I don't doubt that breeders and dealers discussed such issues, I seriously doubt that they took any steps to correct it in a systemic, logical manner.

2) YES. Had the breeders and dealers done so, the need for a disinterested third party (i.e. legislators) to do so would have been lessened or non existent. That way, when legidlators did propose a ban, the "industry" could point to all the proactive steps it took in an effort to curb exotic introduction and ensure responsible husbandry by qualified, responsible people. As it stands, no "self policing" took place, and 13 year old kids were (and largely still are) free to purchase their hatchling burms and other giant snakes at cheap prices with nary a question asked about responsibility, accountability or qulaifications. The breeders and the dealers were (and largely still are) concerned with one thing above all others...Unloading their thousands of young pythons for cash money.

To say that the breeders and dealers do not bear the brunt of responsibility here is to look at this issue through a myopic lens. THEY control who they will and will not sell to. THEY alone determine who is qualified and who isn't. THEY chose to sell out for the cash instead of the long term interests of the "industry", (without any form of self policing), and as such the situation exists in its current form.

Let's be clear....I do NOT supprt an interstate ban...I don't think the evidence indicates that it would be successful in its goals...Bans don't work...Let's face it....those that want these animals badly enough will still get them, regardless of whether they have to violate federal law to do so. Burms aren't going to colonize the lower 48...For the vast majority of the country, it is safe from being southern Florida with regard to giant constrictors.

But let's not minimize or downplay where the responsibility rests here....The "industry" is largely responsible for the current context, and peoples' protests to the contrary serve as a reminder that the issues that caused this mess are still very much alive and well, even in the face of an interstate ban. The "industry" doesn't learn.

-Kris

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 20th, 2014, 2:20 pm

All I'm getting from this is something along the lines of "Let's put all this stuff out here and see if any of it makes any sense." It's obvious you're not interested in friendship, knowledge or insight building discussion; so I'm just not going to respond to you anymore until you move more towards that direction.

If you have concerns you think legitimate on the python problem (or lack thereof) may I suggest you research and publish them in a peer reviewed journal? It would certainly give you a larger microphone to the coverup, conspiracy and poor research (and models) of the python biologists out there - the media would be hounding you for interviews everyday. I mean, that would expose the world a little more to how little your points are actual points - that is, I still don't know what your point is besides "we don't know what we think we know about the pythons," because if it was simply being against the bans you would think you might try to work with those who agree with you on it (**Cough** **Cough**) and who have a little bit of experience with them in the wild. Either way, best of luck with whatever it is you're trying to do with whatever point it is you're trying to make.
Still again we see a ranting attempt to discredit me without addressing a single one of the biological points raised. Clearly , I do far more than talk about, cover up, conspiracy and poor research (and models) of the python biologists. If that's all a reader can get from my post, they are unjustifiably choosing to ignore what they don't agree with.

The erroneous nature of the published biological points I addressed in my previous post can be validated (at least to some degree) by the “GCRAP" teams own collected data. Their data is much more in line with what have said then the poorly researched information found in the peer reviewed paper I addressed. I believe pointing this out to be in the vein of knowledge and insight building discussion. For the author of this paper to respond in the manner he has, is of poor character. It certainly added nothing to support the quality of his work.

As illustrated by the points I addressed. When it comes to biological issues of the nature discussed here. The peer review system leaves much to be desired in terms of getting to the bottom of things. The accepted inclusion of unsubstantiated statistical data, anecdotal accounts and the author's interpretation of that information as seen in reviewed papers (see my previous post) Leaves the reader to rely on their own experience as to determining the validity of the study. Countering one such study with another and maybe another does nothing to clear the issue.

The paper I addressed included this quote that I jokingly remarked on,

ENP is a bastion of mostly undisturbed habitat –
approximately 600,000 hectares - and is home to 76 mammal species and over three hundred taxa of birds (Brown et al., 2006).

The truth is ENP is the most polluted and the most disturbed ecosystem of any national park or preserve in the United States. The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates that only 2% of pristine Everglade ecosystem remains. Despite the addition of so many exotic species in ENP, Its biodiversity is greater today that at any time since the settlement of Florida. The eco system of the Everglades is in constant flux. It has been for more then a century.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 20th, 2014, 3:38 pm

You can try to dispute and rationalize this bone of contention 'til the cows come home, Ernie. It is just a lame attempt to deflect blame for an issue that probably would not even be a topic for discussion if it weren't for the irresponsible behaviors and actions of snake breeders such as yourself. The fact still remains that it is YOU and people of your ilk that are the source of this in the first place. No amount of discrediting discussion is going to make that go away. And to have the audacity to truly believe that your actions were inconsequential borders on being sociopathic and criminal from an ecological perspective. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You maybe a small part of the big problem, but nonetheless, you ARE a contributor to it. And anyone on this Forum who thinks they can sincerely change the attitude of this depraved, twisted individual known as Ernie Eison, well don't bother wasting your time. It will just be used as fuel to further fan the flames for him ad nauseum.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by narrowfellow » February 20th, 2014, 5:22 pm

deleted

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 20th, 2014, 5:30 pm

Gerbils? What exactly do you mean by gerbils? I know lots of sordid stories regarding gerbils. LOL! Check archival records from Lennox Hill Hospital
Emergency in New York City..

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Josh Holbrook » February 21st, 2014, 9:43 am

narrowfellow wrote:Josh, you should know better than to engage with Ernie, as he won't be swayed by any evidence-based arguments you can muster. Just take a look at the recent News board to and fro about brown treesnakes – Ernie didn’t seem to realize that he was eviscerated by Jimi on nearly every semi-coherent point that he was trying to make. Several years ago, gbin suggested that Ernie was in need of 'scientist therapy' to help him overcome his paranoia about the motivations of scientists, and nothing has changed. Case in point: Ernie doesn't know what the risk assessment partnership was, nor that it hasn't existed since 2009, nor that folks like Mike Dorcas were never part of it (but kudos to the pet trade folks for coming up with the charming acronym). I’d be happy to help him come up with a new name for those of us who are obviously out to take away his gerbils – maybe BPELTLT (Bad People Ernie Likes to Lump Together) or maybe TCFMG! (They’re Coming For My Gerbils!).
Ernie’s confirmation bias is acute - he accepts peer-reviewed articles when he likes the results (e.g., the Jacobs et al 2009 conclusion that Burmese and Indian pythons are different species, despite those authors not presenting a shred of new evidence - they split them so they could name a subspecies of Burmese python), but rails against the evils of peer review when he doesn’t like the results. He’s right that the maximum number of eggs in a python from Florida isn’t 90; it’s actually 87 plus 2 slugs, and these were oviductal eggs, not follicles. Others have been found with 79 and 85 oviductal eggs.
Ernie makes some valid and hopefully painfully obvious points about the fact that we don’t know as much as we’d like to about the biology and impacts of invasive pythons, and that scientists make mistakes like everyone else (but scientists’ mistakes linger in print). It’ll take a lot of research to get answers to most of these questions, which is ironic since Ernie doesn’t trust any of the researchers. Oh, well, he’s welcome to contribute to the literature; the wonderful thing about science is that it’s a self-correcting endeavor and scientists have to be comfortable with the fact that everything they say or write could someday be shown to be wrong. Despite that, I still think science is the best way to understand what’s going on around us – it’s certainly better than a heady mix of paranoia, hubris, and ecological ignorance.
I'd write more, but I’ve been busy - my success in engineering the Benghazi cover-up and the Syrian chemical attacks led to my current employment by the Learned Elders of Zion.
- Bob
P.S. Does anyone else ever wonder why so many outstanding herpetologists in academia and agencies have deserted this forum?

I guess I just like to think that even the most insufferable humans are rational at some basic level; but that doesn't mean much if your rationality is in regards to the alternate universe in your head.

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WSTREPS
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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 21st, 2014, 1:45 pm

Josh, you should know better than to engage with Ernie, as he won't be swayed by any evidence-based arguments you can muster. Just take a look at the recent News board to and fro about brown treesnakes – Ernie didn’t seem to realize that he was eviscerated by Jimi on nearly every semi-coherent point that he was trying to make. Several years ago, gbin suggested that Ernie was in need of 'scientist therapy' to help him overcome his paranoia about the motivations of scientists, and nothing has changed. Case in point: Ernie doesn't know what the risk assessment partnership was, nor that it hasn't existed since 2009, nor that folks like Mike Dorcas were never part of it (but kudos to the pet trade folks for coming up with the charming acronym). I’d be happy to help him come up with a new name for those of us who are obviously out to take away his gerbils – maybe BPELTLT (Bad People Ernie Likes to Lump Together) or maybe TCFMG! (They’re Coming For My Gerbils!).
Ernie’s confirmation bias is acute - he accepts peer-reviewed articles when he likes the results (e.g., the Jacobs et al 2009 conclusion that Burmese and Indian pythons are different species, despite those authors not presenting a shred of new evidence - they split them so they could name a subspecies of Burmese python), but rails against the evils of peer review when he doesn’t like the results. He’s right that the maximum number of eggs in a python from Florida isn’t 90; it’s actually 87 plus 2 slugs, and these were oviductal eggs, not follicles. Others have been found with 79 and 85 oviductal eggs.
Ernie makes some valid and hopefully painfully obvious points about the fact that we don’t know as much as we’d like to about the biology and impacts of invasive pythons, and that scientists make mistakes like everyone else (but scientists’ mistakes linger in print). It’ll take a lot of research to get answers to most of these questions, which is ironic since Ernie doesn’t trust any of the researchers. Oh, well, he’s welcome to contribute to the literature; the wonderful thing about science is that it’s a self-correcting endeavor and scientists have to be comfortable with the fact that everything they say or write could someday be shown to be wrong. Despite that, I still think science is the best way to understand what’s going on around us – it’s certainly better than a heady mix of paranoia, hubris, and ecological ignorance.
I'd write more, but I’ve been busy - my success in engineering the Benghazi cover-up and the Syrian chemical attacks led to my current employment by the Learned Elders of Zion.
- Bob
P.S. Does anyone else ever wonder why so many outstanding herpetologists in academia and agencies have deserted this forum?

Bob, You really seem to have struck an interest in what I have to say even pointing to things were said a long time ago. Its my knowledge that puts you back on your heals. It's the educated push back to the "GCRAP" and associates thinly supported science and questionable behavior that's upsetting.

The last thing the ("GCRAP" I like that name, I feel it's a just fit) and the company wants anyone to know is how little they actually recognize. Just how light and misleading their "evidence" based arguments are. One time again its a response that is almost barren of any sound information to pad the "GCRAP" views. It's a post full of personal attack and distraction, a silly smear campaign. The dog pile mentality that often takes place on internet message boards is of no consequence to me. If you want the wrong answer to any question have a bunch of people to vote on it.

Bob claims I won't be swayed by evidence based arguments. The fact is, its when there is a nearly complete lack of evidence in arguments that it fails to sway me.

Admittedly they don't know as much about the biology and impacts of invasive pythons as they would like. It'll take a lot more research to get the answers. A bunch more research will ask a great deal more funding and with that comes career opportunities.

Bob also said people shouldn't minimize the "SCALE OF THE PROBLEM". I used caps so that I wouldn't minimize the problem. The question is what problem is it we're not suppose to minimize?

The one that that the "GCRAP" and friends don't truly know much about or can prove is anything more than a nuisance? Bob Reed's own words very much imply that there is a big problem. What kind of problem? He can't tell you but its big. And herein lies Bobs frustration. From the word go. The "GCRAP" and friends work is laced statements that when put to the test. They can not back up.


The points I made are valid as Bob noted and Bob had nothing to offer in terms of refuting them on a scientific level. So he sought to diminish the relevance of biological points made by calling them painfully obvious. Painfully obvious perhaps to those who know what they are talking about. They are certainly not painfully obvious points in the USGS literature and not to the average person.

The ordinary individual will not sift through the complicated language found in scientific literature or not be mislead by the short synopses and the prejudice of opinion filled forwards that lead off these papers, or the misleading media that the USGS and fellow researchers provide so much fodder for.

Everything from climate maps showing pythons taking over the country onto the front page of USA TODAY to government radio interviews to shoddy research papers with headline grabbing titles.

Mike Dorcas wrote a book (Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator) and dedicated it to Skip Snow. He is very much tied to the "GCRAPS" efforts. He might not have been an official member of the club, but surely he must have had something of an honorary member status. To this point Bob Reed's post has done more to validate his Benghazi work, then support his python research.

As I stated the taxonomical change is a small detail. The taxonomic change I pointed to has been accepted and is currently officially used by the ICUN RED LIST(Taxonomic Notes: Python bivittatus was recently recognized as a full species (Jacobs et al. 2009), having previously been considered a subspecies of P. molurus. The subspecies P. b. progschai has been erected to describe populations from Sulawesi (Jacobs et al. 2009).

As well as the Florida Natural History Museum (Scientific name: Python bivittatus KUHL 1820* Currently accepted name).


The Florida panther researchers refuse to accept and fight the change in the panthers status. (It's no longer a valid subspecies). What's in a name? To me not much, but to others, sometimes a whole lot, legal issues, funding............. it can matter.

People don't always appreciate my direct style. If you don't like what I have to say, don't read it. But when it comes to separating the shaft from the wheat. I know how and get to the heart of the matter. Good luck and watch out for those pythons. You know they're poisonous.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 21st, 2014, 2:20 pm

Ernie: Here is where all your worthless biased rhetoric belongs. It's not your prose that is annoying; it's your personality: Those that find him annoying, click on the video for cathartic relief.


Carl D. May
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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by Carl D. May » February 21st, 2014, 2:35 pm

I must admit that I know exactly zero about Ernie...but he has the best avatar on the entire Internet.

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by azatrox » February 24th, 2014, 8:46 am

I too find it interesting that on the one hand Ernie states that there are some pretty big gaps in our knowledge base for these invasive pythons (agreed), but then proceeds to debase and verbally discredit any scientific endeavor to fill in the gaps.

There's two ways to address this issue....You either base your findings on conclusions, or base your conclusions on findings. Can't have it both ways.

I'd be interested if Ernie could enlighten us as to how we're supposed to fill in the knowledge based gaps yet remain (at least in his eyes) scientifically legitimate.

After reviewing this thread, it appears as though any bonafide professional scientist that examines this issue will be deemed illegitimate in his eyes. So Ernie...are you advocating for a strictly "citizen scientist" approach to further our knowledge? Since it appears to be your contention that scientist objectivity and rationality goes out the window once they start getting a paycheck for the work that they do, what makes you think that "citizen science" can be any more objective?

This smacks of the classic "anti-academia" agenda of FHF lore...

By all means Ernie, correct any of this if you deem it incorrect...Better yet, why not use the answers you have and enlighten the rest of us as to how we should be approaching this issue? ;)

-Kris

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by WSTREPS » February 25th, 2014, 2:15 pm

Sufferin' succotash he's insufferable !

There is nothing faulty with a scientist lobbying for funding to bankroll his or her favorite project. The use of unbiased and sound scientific evaluation to prepare their case. It is when they start to use manipulation in lieu of scientific evidence to bolster their campaigns for funding that their practices come into question.

The kind of funding the "GCRAP" family is looking for is big. Not to mention the career benefits that accompany high profile projects. The minimum that can be learned is that the potential for python biologists to be persuaded by what I have outlined exist. We're not talking about a biologist trying to get a couple bucks so they can study the mating call of the Northern Pacific Treefrog . This is a different league all together.


Comparing the brown tree snake and Guam to Burmese pythons in Florida (As has been done) by itself is questionable.The biology of the animals and its circumstances are apples to oranges. It was automatically suggested that these different species integrated into different biological circumstances could result in similar outcomes to jump start a sense of urgency. Begin the hystria.

Dealing with an invasive can be exceedingly costly e.g. brown tree snake but not cut and dry. First you have to prove or at least in some way convince people that there is a need to spend all this money. Money that is not easy to come by. The invaders must present issues deemed critical. Spending large sums on an issue that represents more of a nuisance than an actual problem is unpopular.

Since there is no proof and only limited evidence of a questionable nature that the pythons are posing a critical threat. The "GCRAP" family's use of selective information and headline grabbing comments and tactics becomes called into doubt. They cannot be totally fair about how little evidence there is linking the Burmese pythons to any serious ecological, economic or commonplace social threat. On that point there is no elbow room. Despite the support of the mass media, powerful environmental groups and like minded academia. The bottom line is the python alarmist have failed to demonstrate a critical threat posed by the pythons exist. To date the return has been a few weak publications and publicity stunts. Projected numbers (biased to their liking) based on limited data, field research and speculation exaggerating the danger and so hoping to cause needless worry and or panic.

I would not be surprised if the next USGS press release reads,

Pythons could slither into Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station and cause meltdown!

Ernie Eison

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Re: A big Burmese python in Everglades National Park.

Post by klawnskale » February 25th, 2014, 7:08 pm

Ha! I used to work with Sherry Gunther at Filmation :lol:


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