Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

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jonathan
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by jonathan » August 10th, 2014, 6:40 pm

I should also add, of course, that you have roundly attacked researchers and conservationists on topics other than python research as well, so it doesn't appear that your insults of those fields are limited to this particular issue in the least.

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WSTREPS
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by WSTREPS » August 10th, 2014, 8:48 pm

That's just not true. I was speaking directly about python research. For instance, in the following thread I brought up one of the python research results in question, without commenting on whether the researchers got it right or wrong. That started a long, intelligent discussion, some of which was critical of methodology and conclusions. No one treated the researchers like angels or assumed they were right, but no one was a jerk either. Non-coincidentally, neither you nor musk was involved. It was one of the more productive discussions on the topic:

In every single one of those threads, someone starts criticizing the methodology or conclusions of the python researchers. In zero of those threads does anyone assume that the researchers are angels and couldn't have gotten anything wrong.
The posted links do very little to detract from what I said. Few if any of the major points of contention I bring up were discussed. Key points to the topic. Failing to recognize this is to make an unfair comparison. From what I read anything that could be called criticism that was leveled at the python researchers was done so with kid gloves, no one touched on the heart of the matter. There was very little in the way of real questioning , questioning in any of the posted threads that goes beyond the superficial . When the kangaroo court of approval is left to its own they sometimes can be light and sweet. When challenged with educated push back the true colors of its members are revealed.

A thread talking about Climatically Matched maps and the poor foundation they were built on is all fine and good. But without addressing why they were fed to the press and the subsequent Government radio interview with Gordon Rodda, his controversial remarks is leaving out key elements of the discussion. The form was bad we know that, but what was the motivation for this poorly done work and the subsequent equally bad publications put forth by team Gcrap. That's the real point to be addressed.

Another thread where Josh Holbrook discussed his mammal decline study and defended his results. No mention was made of the multiple glaring biological errors in the paper such as,

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

ENP is a bastion of mostly undisturbed habitat –

A posted link to a thread about python venom. I don't believe the discussion in that thread could be compared to this discussion, this topic. This is one line in that thread that stuck out. Dr Fry, "However, I have little time for semantic arguments and absolutely no interest in responding to attempted character assassinations."

A link to a short thread that was more or less pushing the played out argument that the media not the researchers were responsible for the sensationalism. What I've posted in this thread alone dispels that myth.

Ernie Eison

Aaron
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Aaron » August 10th, 2014, 9:38 pm

After following this thread and looking at some of the studies linked herein, one thing I'd like to know that I did not see being addressed, is how much(if any) has traffic increased on these roads in the ENP? This is something that could affect mammal sightings near roads.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 11th, 2014, 4:14 am

I'm sure it's true that patience is a virtue, jonathan, and I admire yours even though I've put so little effort into cultivating my own. I just hope that you're not deluding yourself into thinking you'll reach Ernie thereby. Rational discourse can't get through to him past his avarice or prejudice, let alone a blinding combination of the two as is the case with the Everglades python situation. One might as well try to reason the crazy uncle out of spitting in everyone else's soup at the dinner table.

When Ernie starts acting up as he does, I think it's best just to point out his garbage for what it is and leave it at that. Anything else just encourages him to carry on his campaign, and as you say, there are plenty of other threads here where the topics he rants about can instead be addressed free of his garbage.

Gerry

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 11th, 2014, 3:42 pm

Aaron wrote:After following this thread and looking at some of the studies linked herein, one thing I'd like to know that I did not see being addressed, is how much(if any) has traffic increased on these roads in the ENP? This is something that could affect mammal sightings near roads.
That data is available. Take a look and let us know what you find.


https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/ ... ?Park=EVER

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by jonathan » August 11th, 2014, 5:35 pm

WSTREPS wrote: The posted links do very little to detract from what I said.
Your claim was that the researchers have been treated like "angels" by your detractors. Not one line in any of the threads I posted shows anyone treating a researcher like an angel.

Your claim was that criticism of researchers was kept to a minimum. Those threads show clear and sustained criticism of python research.

Your claim was that I must have been talking about other research discussions, not the python discussion. Those threads show that I am clearly referring to the python discussion.

All I can understand from your response now is that you think there is an important difference between constructive criticism and the venom that you like to spew. And I agree with that. Constructive criticism can get somewhere. The venom you spew can't. You seem to think that if you aren't including broad generalizations about the motivations and competence of the entire group in your attacks, that the attacks don't have real weight. I don't think you've yet understood how stupid and pointless such an approach is.

Maybe the best lesson is if you noticed that in all the threads I posted, the discussion stayed on-topic and useful the entire time. Whereas this thread, as Kelly Mc said earlier, "I think whats happened is that the OP delivered an opening presentation in a styling which could not fail to invite diverse, equally unfettered responses." If you think that that has created a more helpful dialogue than the threads I posted, then I think you are a little lost on what "helpful" would mean in this case. You seem to think that any thread which contains your opinions is better than any thread that doesn't, and that getting in your hostile digs at researchers, conservationists, and government, regardless of whether those digs change anything, is the most important thing for you to do in a thread.

If you think I'm wrong, of course, prove it by posting something without going in that direction.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by WSTREPS » August 12th, 2014, 3:21 pm

I began this long thread with a colorful telling of one of my many trips to the Florida Everglades in search of Python bivittatus. I should consider my self lucky with results of that adventure. Keep in mind I made note of how environmental conditions play a role in finding a target specie's. That being said when a species is truly abundant in region, you can always find one.

How common are the pythons in the Glades. From the pros,

Reed and Rodda (2009) state that one python was encountered In the Everglades for every 1,318 man-days of searching. That's a low number, especially considering 2009 was the biggest year for python captures.



A good portion of this long thread has been centered around mammals or I should say pythons eating mammals. One thing I think worth mentioniong if only in passing is ,

The day the Dorcus and friends paper [ Severe Mammal Declines Coincide with Proliferation of Invasive Burmese Pythons in Everglades National Park ] was put out a press release was forwarded to all the major news outlets.



Of note,

Snow et al. (2007) the diet of ENP pythons. Only two
out of 54 prey items (3.7%) recovered from a sample of 56
pythons examined during 2003–2006 were raccoons. Opossums
made up only 1.8% of the items. Rodents, all species (including
squirrels), comprised 38.9% of the dietary items recovered from
pythons in the sample.




When reviewing the work of the Invasive python gang [ Papers on mammlian declines, python population estimates, etc. ] these famous words welll applied,

"This seems to be one of the many cases in which the
admitted accuracy of mathematical processes is allowed to throw
a wholly inadmissible appearance of authority over the results obtained by them"





If you think that that has created a more helpful dialogue than the threads I posted, then I think you are a little lost on what "helpful" would mean in this case. You seem to think that any thread which contains your opinions is better than any thread that doesn't, and that getting in your hostile digs at researchers, conservationists, and government, regardless of whether those digs change anything, is the most important thing for you to do in a thread.

If you think I'm wrong, of course, prove it by posting something without going in that direction.
You are wrong on many counts. Leaving out major points of contention in any discussion because they may offend some proves nothing. What is misleadingly referred to as venom by the naysayers is in fact insightful analogy. My approach has been multifaceted and has incorporated a range of information from a number of sources.There is more factual information about the pythons, the environment they live in and the researchers in this thread. Than in all the posted links used to " prove a point " combined.

The low information crowd has been a one trick pony. Why do they pay such close attention to what I have to say? Even USGS biologist Bob Reed chimed in to throw a cheap shot. The answer is simple my points hit home, they are accurate and truthful.This thread has gotten a lot of views. People are interested, they read and reread , they are reading because they are interested in what I have to say. No one cares about the forums resident spambots or thier badgering. If I could have worked a game warden into it, I think this post could have been bigger than Elvis.


Ernie Eison

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Andy Avram
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Andy Avram » August 12th, 2014, 4:06 pm

Wow, I thought you were just nuts, but I also see you are a complete narcissist too.

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gbin
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 12th, 2014, 4:13 pm

Connecting the dots...
gbin wrote:
gbin wrote:Ernie... If you want to criticize people and/or their work, I'm fine with that - and science is indeed heavily dependent upon the latter - but make sure it has a basis in evidence that you can clearly point to and leave out all those totally unfounded aspersions which to date you've been so eager to cast toward your self-styled "enemies"; your personal suppositions about these people and their profession, no matter how many times nor how forcefully you present them, do not substitute for real evidence...
WSTREPS wrote:... it is provable [biologists working on the Everglades python issue] benefit directly by maximizing the magnitude of any problems that Burmese pythons might present, real or hypothetical...
There you have it, folks. We used to live in a country where people are considered innocent until proven guilty, but now that we've moved into Ernie's World (much like slipping into another dimension) all that's needed is for Ernie to declare that someone is guilty of something, and lo, by his fiat alone it is so! Evidence schmevidence! And in this case, with Ernie himself having no small financial interest in the affected subject, the scientists involved would have be considered real enemies of the state, guilty of high crimes, indeed!
WSTREPS wrote:The failure of some to admitting even the slightest to the possibility that there has been any wrong doing on the part of the Invasive python team . This in the face of cogent evidence could be called proof of their bias, their agenda. The pot calling the kettle black. Government researcher's , their colleagues, the pythons, the Everglades are all entwined. It would be lacking to discuss only one aspect or side of the situation.
Wow, it's even worse than Ernie first suspected! Apparently there's this huge conspiracy of wealthy wildlife biologists out to get him! Poor Ernie! Poor Ernie's World!

What a nutjob... :crazyeyes:

Gerry

P.S. to Ernie: You really should quote and cite the things that you lift from other sources, rather than plagiarize by blending them in with your own words and pretending that its all yours. (See the pseudoscientific paper "self-published" by David and Tracy Parker, proprietors of VPI, Inc., "The On-Line Source for Boas, Pythons & Sandboas!" :roll: )

P.S. to everyone else: If someone is found to be demonstrably dishonest about one thing, you can be sure that he's dishonest about others that you haven't discovered.
WSTREPS wrote:... my points hit home, they are accurate and truthful...
In other words: "Evidence? I don't need no stinking evidence! I'm Ernie!"
WSTREPS wrote:... People are interested, they read and reread , they are reading because they are interested in what I have to say...
As I said, nutjob. More and more like Pecos Frank every day... :crazyeyes:

Gerry

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Jimi » August 12th, 2014, 4:36 pm

I'll probably get crucified for this, but I found 2 basic features of the Dorcas et al paper quite unsatisfying:

1) attempting to link (equate?) fewer DOR mammals with fewer actual mammals (this type of linkage is called indexing, and it's well-known to be a weak form of extending inference, although it unfortunately still happens a lot in wildlife management) - note also this was not an a priori designed study, rather one utilizing data-dredging (going back over old data that was collected for whatever reason...) - also held in pretty low regard, if the intent is explanatory, versus exploratory, analysis

2) suggesting that correlation between "mammal declines" (discussed above) and snake increases (which I'm not even touching) implies cause - likewise a poorly-regarded means of extending inference, whatever the strength of their mammal and snake numbers.

They're pretty basic quibbles, but big ones to "the way I was raised". It just doesn't feel like great science, so I don't buy the output. I was pretty disturbed by all the press - the highly credulous press - generated by the release of that paper. It's kind of like chumming for sharks at a bathing beach, and claiming "hey - what? - I didn't contribute to that bite" when the press picks up something like this and leaps to "explanatory". Even if you're tripping over yourself saying "exploratory", you know they can't help themselves...they're gonna bite.

I didn't say anything at the time, but this thread has reminded me. I'd like to know if anyone has any reliable knowledge to support a "mammalian decline due to pythons" hypothesis. I understand the theoretical underpinnings of such a hypothesis, as well as the empirical analogs elsewhere (albeit in much simpler food webs). That's not what I'm requesting. I'm asking if any explanatory work has been completed, or even undertaken, yet. Even just attempts to falsify alternative/competing hypotheses.

Note I'm not making any ad hominem assaults here - on anyone. I'd appreciate the same consideration. This is about content. And the heebie-jeebies I get when the pitchfork-wielding villagers are summoned by sensationalist journalism to attack "a monster". Just sayin'.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 12th, 2014, 5:47 pm

Jimi wrote:... I found 2 basic features of the Dorcas et al paper quite unsatisfying:
See how it can be done, Ernie? Folks might disagree with Jimi's criticisms of some of the scientific work that's been done on the subject of the Everglades pythons, but despite his concern I feel sure no one's going to crucify him for them.

Silly me, addressing a nutjob as if he's going to listen to reason... :roll:

Jimi, I agree somewhat with your first criticism. It would be much better to have data from formal studies of various mammalian species' populations in the Everglades. But failing that, coming up with an index or much better yet a compilation of various indices (which is much stronger than any single index alone, unless of course they don't concur - which would still be useful in telling you something about the indices you selected) is about as good as it's going to get, and it's certainly worth something.

With respect to your second criticism, I don't agree at all. Correlational data can be used in perfectly valid analyses, and data on direct causality can be pretty much impossible to obtain in a field setting. As large as the Everglades are, too, I would think there must be ample areas with and without pythons for the correlational data to be quite numerous and robust. If one were to actually go out and do a proper study of it, that is, and not just try to scrum together existing data from various sources and of varying quality.
Jimi wrote:... I'd like to know if anyone has any reliable knowledge to support a "mammalian decline due to pythons" hypothesis...
As would I. I see plenty of reason to be concerned that such a decline is occurring, but that's simply not the same thing as actually having data showing such a decline is occurring.
Jimi wrote:... And the heebie-jeebies I get when the pitchfork-wielding villagers are summoned by sensationalist journalism to attack "a monster"...
And of course I agree with this. But it's not at all fair to blame researchers for how their work is portrayed in popular media. Sure, once in a while you'll have one say something thoughtless or unclear that's just asking to be trumpeted into hysteria by the media, but far more often it's just the media themselves, doing what the media do.

And for those who think "I'd certainly never accidentally say the wrong thing about my work when facing a print or television reporter, so that researcher must have meant just what he told that reporter!", all I can say is that you really don't understand the pressure those reporters can exert until you've actually faced it yourself, and if you don't realize that extreme pressure can sometimes result in erratic behavior, then you really don't understand much about basic human nature, either. Even the most ethical scientist alive is still a human, after all; fortunately and by design, the scientific process and the work that results from it is far more reliable than any individual scientist.

Notwithstanding any grand conspiracies (such as among Ernie's wealthy wildlife biologists), of course. :crazyeyes:

Gerry

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 12th, 2014, 5:55 pm

I can't really argue with anything you've said Jimmie. That group should know better, since they were raised the same way as you..... On the other hand, maybe I can argue some :-)

There is very little evidence of top down regulation of prey by snakes and most of that evidence presumably comes from introduced brown tree snakes in Guam. If you trace the literature on that subject back, I bet those early papers have the same deficiencies that you raise. I might even go so far to say that the relationship between endemic birds and brown tree snakes on guam is entirely correlative? Is there strong evidence that brown tree snakes caused the extinctions on guam? Weere those hypotheses laid out a priori? Was experimental manipulation used early on? That whole situation was viewed with extreme skepticism until it was too late. I remember people just couldn't believe that snakes could cause that much ecological havoc.

The quibbles you raise are based on one way of doing science. Its not the only way. Other fields are progressing just fine without an information criteria approach. I am somewhat resentful of being pushed into a "this is the only way to do science approach". There are many ways to advance knowledge and experimentation and replication remain at the top of that list.

Often this type of work is used as a springboard for stronger, more rigorous research. I would hope that someone is currently implementing a BACI design to see how pythons impact mammals in the everglades.

edit: Overall you make good points Jimi. Even with the flaws in that paper though I don't think we can just take Ernie's word that everything is OK in the Everglades. We have good reasons to think that things are not OK. At the very least, a lot more research is needed.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Andy Avram » August 12th, 2014, 6:13 pm

gbin wrote:
Jimi wrote: And the heebie-jeebies I get when the pitchfork-wielding villagers are summoned by sensationalist journalism to attack "a monster"...
And of course I agree with this. But it's not at all fair to blame researchers for how their work is portrayed in popular media. Sure, once in a while you'll have one say something thoughtless or unclear that's just asking to be trumpeted into hysteria by the media, but far more often it's just the media themselves, doing what the media do.

And for those who think "I'd certainly never accidentally say the wrong thing about my work when facing a print or television reporter, so that researcher must have meant just what he told that reporter!", all I can say is that you really don't understand the pressure those reporters can exert until you've actually faced it yourself, and if you don't realize that extreme pressure can sometimes result in erratic behavior, then you really don't understand much about basic human nature, either. Even the most ethical scientist alive is still a human, after all; fortunately and by design, the scientific process and the work that results from it is far more reliable than any individual scientist.
While I am not doing research, I am a professional naturalist, so I am a local voice of environmental issues and topics and get called by TV, radio and print reporters on a regular basis. Even if it not pressure, they will certainly take words you say and make it fit into the story they want to release, or keep asking the same question from different angles until they can use a quote, even if it is taken out of context. I also believe they are not even always consciously doing this, but rather try and make it what you are saying fit into how they are understanding an issue.

It takes practice, and a special skill set, to talk to the press and get the quotes you want aired in the context you want itaired in. I am far from perfect with this, but it is their job (right or wrong) to get the story and it is my job to try and relay the facts. Once it is in their hands there is very little I can do about it.

Andy

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by WSTREPS » August 13th, 2014, 4:54 am

... I'd like to know if anyone has any reliable knowledge to support a "mammalian decline due to pythons" hypothesis...
NO,


This quote sums it up,
“With few exceptions you would get that
impression from the media coverage that hoards of rampaging
snakes were vacuuming up mammals in the Everglades. We
don’t know that. . . .” Dr. Frank Mazzotti

There is no solid data to indicate that there is a link between the pythons and a decline in the Everglades mammal populations. No one knows how many mammals were there before or after the pythons. If any actual decline has taken place or how any of this coincides with natural population cycles. There is nothing in the way of properly collected historical population data for reference. You name it. There are gigantic holes in the claims.
On the other side. The hydrology crew is claiming the mammals have declined [in spots] and is trying to pin this decline on water releases that flood certain parts of the Glades and disrupt the entire ecology of the park. They do not have any real data to support this hypothesis ether. The deeper you dig, the more wishy washy the whole thing is. I say go to the Glades and look for yourself. You will find that the claims of massive mammalian declines in the way its been implied will quickly be called into question.


People still trying to pin it on the press,

The proof is in the actions. The python researchers quickly compiled a paper entitled [Severer Mammal Declines Coincide with the Proliferation of Invasive Burmese Pythons In Everglades National Park.] A paper that is more of an opinion piece and contains no statistical evaluation or analysis of the results. Knowing this. The day that paper hits the street a press release was forwarded to every major news outlet.

In the press release USGS director Marcia Mcnutt can be quoted as saying "Pythons are wreaking havoc on one of Americas most beautiful, treasured and naturally bountiful ecosystems."

That's a BIG statement to give to the press and one that can not be backed up with facts.

I don't think it's standard procedure for a scientific paper to receive a major press release. But we have seen this before. For the Invasive python crew it is standard procedure. Rodda / Reed infamous climate maps were splattered on the front page of USA TODAY, by design. The Invasive Python gang has had a press release after every paper they have published. You can find a number of wildly inaccurate claims and statements made by the invasive python camp. Just look at some of the quotes I posted in this thread. They did not come from the press they were lifted directly from the researcher's own writings.

The python researchers have shown no signs of remorse that their work was misrepresented or any indication that they are not on board with the escalation of misgivings involving the pythons. They certainly aren't having any press release party's to correct anything that's been said in the medias.
Mike Dorcus brags about all the press attention his buddy Skippy Snow has received in his Invasive Python book. He even goes as far as to include the ridiculous quote from Maxin magazine, as I noted in an earlier post.

The brown tree snake / python comparison is pretty weak. About the only thing these two animals and situations have in common is that they both snakes. The quick version,

The Burmese python is a large python living in a huge protected area that is loaded with natural predators and a number of native snakes. Much like its native range.

The brown tree snake is an arboreal colubrid introduced to Guam, a small island, a place that is well populated, has no native snakes*, and no natural predators.

If someone has to make comparisons why not make the most logical one. Compare the Florida Boa population to the Florida python population. At least there are some reasonable similarities. Bob Reed won't even compare boas to boas, he compares Boas to Brown tree snakes. It's no wonder. Reed along with some of the other authors of the Mammal Declines paper have taken advantage of the 100 million dollars in funding provided by Congress and the military for the Brown tree snake. All of them have gotten python money. Why not keep that narrative going. If the political climate was the same when the boas were first discovered to be established in Florida as it is now, the snake biologist of the day would have been shouting from the rooftops all the horrors that await if something is not done about the boa problem, just as they are today with the Burmese pythons. For proof of this look no further than Bob Reed and his current handling of the Boas in Puerto Rico.

Once again, To avoid confusion. As I made clear in the past my comments involving biologist and funding are in no way are meant to imply that the biologist is getting rich. At no point did I ever say that the biologist were making stacks of cash from this funding. A group of biologist receiving millions of dollars in funding for various projects does not make them millionaires. The focal point / key element's of the funding argument and its role are very clear and very valid. At this juncture for anyone to imply that I'm trying to portray the biologist as getting rich from the funding they receive is ridiculous.

Ernie Eison

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Andy Avram » August 13th, 2014, 5:29 am

I say go to the Glades and look for yourself. You will find that the claims of massive mammalian declines in the way its been implied will quickly be called into question.
Yeah, I was just in the glades this spring for 2 nights of roadcruising. Saw a number of snakes, no pythons though, but the only mammals I saw were a few deer and a panther, no small mammals. I have been there 3 times and the first time in '07 I saw tons of Marsh Rabbits, especially around Eco Pond. Didn't see a Marsh Rabbit at all this time or the previous time a couple years ago. But, just a little SE of Okeechobee while cruising, we saw skunks, rabbits and a host of other small mammals along with native snakes. So my experience actually fits the mammal decline.


But being of the low information crowd I probably just don't know how to roadcruise for animals...

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 13th, 2014, 5:52 am

WSTREPS wrote:
... I'd like to know if anyone has any reliable knowledge to support a "mammalian decline due to pythons" hypothesis...
NO,

...
See, Ernie, that's the thing. Folks aren't likely to take the word of someone they've come to know as demonstrably dishonest, clearly motivated by profit and with an incredibly large axe to grind against wildlife scientists/science (for daring to get in the way of that profit, apparently), even if he occasionally somehow manages to tell the truth about something. At this point I wouldn't trust you to tell me that the sky is blue without first looking up to see for myself, and I strongly recommend that everyone else treat you similarly. That's what I meant by saying that you were making whatever knowledge and experience you might have, even if it might be considerable on this or that subject, totally useless by burying it under the mountain of garbage you routinely dump here.

Guess I'd better get back to work. Got lots of stacks of money to count before my weekly 3D electronic meeting with my fellow wildlife scientist conspirators this afternoon. (Only the most expensive technology for us, of course!) At present we're embroiled in a real debate, trying to decide where to hold this year's conference. Hawaii? Paris?... We've really got to start scheduling these conferences more frequently, say every month or two. Having it only annually makes the decision awfully tough, it doesn't give us nearly enough venues for spreading our bogus research results, and of course all of us are always looking for meaningless ways to spend all this money we're making. That's the whole point of our conspiracy, after all! Well, that and all the fame... :roll:

Gerry

Jimi
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Jimi » August 13th, 2014, 8:07 am

On the other hand, maybe I can argue some :-)
That from Bryan (I still haven't looked around to see how to do that attributed-quote thing).

Bryan you raise a number of fine points, most of which it would be best to leave right where they are - "good". In response to one though, I would point out that Savidge's 1987 paper in Ecology - and the work it took to get there - took significant pains to falsify some pretty strong alternative hypotheses. The "avian diseases" one, for example. So yes, there is strong evidence. Including much evidence provided by continuing struggles (and some failures) to maintain the last few pitiful scraps of native-bird populations on Guam.

In the Glades it would be wonderful to have a number (replicates...) of snake-proof, mammal-leaking enclosures, to test the top-down-regulation hypothesis experimentally.
Even with the flaws in that paper though I don't think we can just take Ernie's word that everything is OK in the Everglades. We have good reasons to think that things are not OK.
I am being misunderstood. I figured it could happen, that people would equate my quibbles with "siding with Ernie". There are many things wrong with the Glades, screwed up hydrology being far and away the biggest one, nutrient inputs another biggie. (I have no doubt Ernie would agree - I think it's a stretch to suggest he's saying all is well there.) Introduced pythons could hurt a lot in the Glades. They, like hogs feeding panthers, could also provide some unexpected benefits (e.g., reductions in subsidized mesocarnivores and introduced small mammals like black rats). Pythons may need to be managed. We need to figure out if so, and if so, how to accomplish it. So I - of course - support the research on python control, as well as any management that research indicates is needed.

But I also mentioned my heebie-jeebies - as when very preliminary, exploratory results are used to elicit a public response.

Among other things, I assume Ernie is pissed because of the "python ban". Does anyone think that making it illegal - a federal crime - to offer for sale a rock python or a Burm housed in e.g. Minnesota, and to then sell that animal to someone residing in e.g., Wisconsin, is going to do anything for the conservation of wildlife anywhere in the US or anywhere else on Earth? Just this summer, the comment period for extending the interstate-trade ban to a variety of other boids (retic, 3 anacondas, and common boa) expired. These actions are a result of what's been going on in Florida.

It's a terrible lot of collateral damage to inflict, for no good wildlife-conservation reason. I don't blame the researchers for that, I blame human stupidity and ugly self-interest. Once these actions are taken they are very hard to undo. So I have some empathy for people who - unlike me - want to buy, sell, keep, whatever, these giant (or not so giant insular varieties) constrictors.

This is not why I quibble with the paper. But I think it's also a valid point. I just can't agree with Ernie's character attacks.

Cheers,
jimi

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 13th, 2014, 8:26 am

Thanks for that paper Jimi. Its exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate your knowledge.

Regarding the sensationalism in the media, what else could be expected? Its almost impossible to get the media to pick up stories on ecology unless there is some sensationalism involved. And pythons are pretty sensational, even without exaggeration. I think we can all agree on that. Asking the media to behave rationally and give even handed treatment to an invasion of giant snakes on US soil? That's like asking people on the forum to use their real names and behave like adults. Its a worthy goal but it ain't happening anytime soon.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 13th, 2014, 9:51 am

Bryan Hamilton wrote:Regarding the sensationalism in the media, what else could be expected?
Especially if, as Ernie claims, the very agency that conducted the study (USGS) puts out the sensationalized press release for general-public-media consumption.

:?

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by VanAR » August 13th, 2014, 10:22 am

Jimi wrote:Among other things, I assume Ernie is pissed because of the "python ban". Does anyone think that making it illegal - a federal crime - to offer for sale a rock python or a Burm housed in e.g. Minnesota, and to then sell that animal to someone residing in e.g., Wisconsin, is going to do anything for the conservation of wildlife anywhere in the US or anywhere else on Earth? Just this summer, the comment period for extending the interstate-trade ban to a variety of other boids (retic, 3 anacondas, and common boa) expired. These actions are a result of what's been going on in Florida.
The funny thing is that few biologists agree that the ban will do any good, either. The cat is already out of the proverbial bag, and these bans are more punitive than they are meant to be effective means of conservation. If anything, they are likely to make the situation worse because some folks will feel forced to release their captive animals to avoid prosecution, which is the exact scenario most conservation biologists wish to avoid.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Kelly Mc » August 13th, 2014, 11:05 am

Folks will let them go period, to avoid the costs and inconvenience of caring for them. Even to avoid the inconvenience of posting an ad to attempt to rehome them.

I am clear across in CA. Lots of calls, a steady rate, from people wanting to get rid of their pythons. It used to be Burmese Pythons all the time, maturing, needing bigger caging. But now its Ball Pythons. Many many Ball Pythons.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 13th, 2014, 2:54 pm

VanAR wrote:The funny thing is that few biologists agree that the ban will do any good, either. The cat is already out of the proverbial bag, and these bans are more punitive than they are meant to be effective means of conservation. If anything, they are likely to make the situation worse because some folks will feel forced to release their captive animals to avoid prosecution, which is the exact scenario most conservation biologists wish to avoid.
Indeed, making Ernie's incessant attacks on wildlife biologists all the more idiotic...

Gerry

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Jimi » August 14th, 2014, 10:47 am

Folks will let them go period, to avoid the costs and inconvenience of caring for them. Even to avoid the inconvenience of posting an ad to attempt to rehome them.

I am clear across in CA. Lots of calls, a steady rate, from people wanting to get rid of their pythons. It used to be Burmese Pythons all the time, maturing, needing bigger caging. But now its Ball Pythons. Many many Ball Pythons.
All true, as long as we keep in mind that we are talking about *some* folks, not *all* folks. (FWIW I too have been propositioned many times for "free ball pythons". I have yet to accept any of these generous offers.)

As it is true that *some* people will, and do:
- dump the animal (& botanical, fungal, protozoan, bacterial, viral, etc) contents of their fish tanks into "wild" water bodies
- dump their pet horses out in the desert when feed costs get too high
- move away and leave their pet cats and dogs to find another human, or try to make a living on their own
- shoot deer out of season
- deposit their newborn children into dumpsters, or abandon them at hotel entrances, or kill them and keep their mummified bodies in cardboard boxes in the garage
- leave their babies and toddlers to die in cars on hot days while they go shopping
- use their firearms to kill people who don't need killing
- get drunk or stoned and drive their cars in that condition, and as a result, kill other people
- use their computers to steal information to steal money from other people
- etc etc ad nauseum

Some people, not most people, do all these horrible things.

The difference is, nobody (in the US anyway) is proposing to ban:
- the keeping of fish tanks
- the keeping of pet horses
- the keeping of pet dogs and cats
- the hunting of deer
- the unfettered production of human offspring
- allowing human offspring to be transported in private motor vehicles
- the ownership of personal firearms
- the ownership of personal automobiles
- the ownership of personal computers

See, the general principle is, in this country we don't pre-punish everyone just because someone is definitely going to screw up. Bad.

Instead, we - usually - try to come up with ways to allow people to mostly do what they want (hello freedom and opportunity!), and deal with (either before, or after) what happens when someone screws up.

There is an injustice which has been inflicted upon some people, affecting even more people, in the name of us all. It gives me heartburn, I wish it had been handled differently (e.g., been left for Florida to deal with, which they were). What else can I say?

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Kelly Mc » August 14th, 2014, 4:12 pm

When I lived in Florida the apt neighbors down the way (the cool ones, there were others not) let me use their laundry room. They were odd old hippies. There was a wasp nest in the laundry room corner and I was really taken aback, and the elder hippy guy says Oh they've been here since before me, they don't bother us and we don't bother them. And there they were going in and out the door. It took some getting used to. Yeah there are extremes. But, just sayin' !


EDIT S.PHONE POSTING MISHAP. The laundry wasps meant for the thread : 'Snake Trouble for Florida Family.

I just thought perhaps I didn't hit "submit" . How people with larger hands and fingertips operate these touch devices is really a mystery.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by WSTREPS » August 15th, 2014, 6:51 am

One of my favorite parts field Herping is researching the species and the habit before setting out to search for my target species. The Everglades python population provides me with lots of fun, there is so much to review. Documentaries, research papers, interactive maps that show the exact locations where the pythons are caught, books, Tv and radio interviews. Forums that provide expert feedback to any question from people even if they don't anything about the subject. It's all very interesting. I would like to touch on / share a few things,


It's the press!

In my previous post I mentioned the Rodda / Reed / Jarnevich climate maps that were splattered on the front page of USA TODAY and everywhere else. I think it's worth pointing out that Gordon Rodda made several press release statements PRIOR to that papers publishing.

No doubt the USGS team wanted to make sure this piece got the maximum amount of press coverage before anyone in the scientific community or otherwise had the opportunity to point out and respond to its many flaws. This paper along with the other publicity stunts billed as scientific experiments could be viewed as a misappropriation funds since they had nothing to do with the management of the Burmese python population in South Florida.

If the snakes can survive in the Arctic knowing this does nothing to help contain and control an established population. The pair of climate matching maps produced by the USGS [one based on events that have not and may not ever occur] represent useless propaganda.

A good percentage of an invasive biologist income is the result of federal funding. Tax payer money. Making this a Federal issue is critically important to these biologist. That is why team python is so hell bent on proving these snakes can survive in what is referred to as a "temperate climate". Outside of Florida.

Let's go to Carolina and freeze some pythons....... Yeah!!!

The python researchers hate the media, but always make sure to let them in on everything as soon as possible. A large outdoor "semi natural enclosure " is built, ten Burmese pythons from the ENP region tossed in. As always the press is quickly notified in mass, National Geographic is contracted to film the drama as it unfolds. Hoping and praying they could capture on film the snakes adapting, overcoming, surviving the cold.

What they got was a look at animal cruelty as the snakes were left out to freeze to death. All ten of them. Never a group to let the actual results of their experiments get in the way, keep in mind this group has strong incentives to promote cold weather pythons. The Florida python researchers marched on.

Mike Dorcas told the Christian Science monitor, " There certainly is a possibility that the pythons could survive in South Carolina and possibly even further North. "

Dorcas and friends are completely oblivious to the fact that all ten of the test snakes at the [SERL] South Carolina project became popsicles, or that 9 of the 10 radio tracked snakes in the Glades died during the cold snap. The lone survivor was rescued as it was dying. So they could kill it later. They totally disregarded the results of the Gainesville, FL project about which the scientist who conducted the experiment had this to say,

"We recognize that our pythons are not perfectly
representative of free-living pythons. But, if wild
pythons had existed in north-central Florida during
the 2009–2010 winter, we contend their survival rate
would likely not have matched that of the captive
pythons. Our animals approached winter well-fed,
with the benefit of daily attention from trained animal
care professionals, and with free access to a heated
refuge, advantages not guaranteed for pythons in the
wild."

"Our results, while not definitive, support the view
that climatic variables affecting the extent of a
species’ range are likely defined by their extremes in
magnitude and duration, rather than by average
values. Our empirical observations on the impacts
of the cold weather event are consistent with results
from recent niche modeling efforts (Pyron et al.
2008) and cast doubt that Burmese pythons can
become established and persist beyond the southern portion of the Florida peninsula "

Most scientists agree,

I don't know who most are but I do know most have not read all if any of the published Burmese python literature or would understand it if they did. I don't mean this in the sense that they would not understand the language or the statistical information. The x's and o's. They would not understand if any of it was based on correct information.

If the paper reads well, makes sense, seems reasonable on the surface and its always helpful if the paper supports something the reader believes in to start. Most scientists will be ok with it. On this topic [Burmese pythons] most scientists would be ok with a research paper that is built almost entirely on a foundation of errors. Most scientists do not have enough python knowledge to recognize these errors. They do not know right from wrong when it comes to the x's and o's of the animals themselves.

For example the Mike Dorcas / Wilson Invasive Python book. Mike Dorcas and friends state that they hope their book will be a resource for scientist. It could be of some use to scientists as paper weight, but as an information resource. Ouch. Dorcas is considered a snake expert in the scientific community. The book he co-authored, like the papers produced by the Florida python gang, is riddled with errors, misinformation, unfounded statements, anecdotal evidence, and poorly researched.

Not only do Dorcas and friends make many mistakes in their discussion of Burmese pythons. When they try to give a wider ranging view, including other species, they screw things up even worse. It's clear they should have broadened their research base to more than referencing their own papers, outdated hobbyist publications and the Guinness book of World records. Still, I believe most scientists would probably think it was fine book and research papers good. If most scientists ever read any of it. Most won't.

Snakes are hard to find,

The state- sponsored Python Challenge gave snake wranglers of all sorts a chance to catch a snake and win a prize. The idea, according to the event organizers was to raise awareness about the pythons. I guess the non stop world wide media coverage was not enough. A news conference, kick off time 1p.m. sharp 1/10/13 and they're off, over 1500 python hunters. At 12:59 pm sharp 2/10/13 all snakes must be turned in.

The big hunt produced a whopping 68 pythons and lots of laughs. It also sent the invasive python team into a tizzy.
Their response was to let everyone know the importance of catching a handful of pythons. According to them 68 pythons equals thousands [again this estimate based a crystal ball on a ball prediction] and another experiment. This experiment once again a publicity stunt that has nothing to do with the control and management of the Florida pythons.

Dorcas and friends conducted a snake Easter egg hunt to prove snakes are hard to find. Snakes were released into the cage, the contestants sent in to look for them. The result. Snakes are hard to find. Amazing.

The python researchers probably could have saved some time by reviewing their own published literature.

Reed and Rodda (2009) state that one python was encountered
in the Everglades for every 1,318 man-days of searching.
This was in 2009, the year with the highest numbers of pythons
reported. Also, in the previously mentioned study of Reed et al.
(2011) that also took place in 2009, standardized searching of
the Frog Pond study area found zero pythons. The numbers of
reported pythons from all sources in 2011 dropped nearly 50%
from the 2009 high (National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/ever/naturescience/burmesepython.htm.)

It should be noted this experiment was not entirely useless as it did inspired other important research projects such as How Many Starfish on the beach? and Is There Really a Santa.

Burmese pythons Invasive species,

No, but don't let the facts stop you from using this popular catch phrase. Burmese pythons are not an invasive species by legal definition. The only invasive snake species are the Brown tree snake on Guam. I guess the only way for the researchers to get that invasive snake funding is to disregard the law and designate the pythons as invasive.

By definition of a Presidential Order 13112 signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1999, Invasive species [Section 1 (f)]: " Invasive species means an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health."

The first Burmese python was captured at the North end on route 41 just outside of the ENP in 1979.
There is not enough evidence to show the snakes are doing or are likely to do anything that would qualify them as invasive by definition of the law at this point. Guessing does not make something more likely. There is no authoritative evidence that pythons have done quantifiable ecological damage of any sort , nothing .

The constant use of the brown tee snake comparison by invasive biologist is their version of handing someone an apple and telling them it will taste like an orange. An orange accompanied by federal funding.

Pythons eat a lot.

The invasive python team is making outlandish claims about the demise of the Everglades mammal populations due to python predation. In other words, they are saying a huge population of pythons is devouring everything. The same group of researchers blames the failure of their trapping program [ 6053 trap-nights resulted in three python captures] on the over abundance of prey and not enough snakes.

I really enjoy sharing this information with everyone, its a lot of fun and there's plenty more.

Hey have any of you guys ever caught a python ? Tell me about it.


Ernie Eison

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 15th, 2014, 9:02 am

WSTREPS wrote:Hey have any of you guys ever caught a python ? Tell me about it.
I caught a rubber boa last week. Does that count for anything?

I would probably be scared to catch a python but I'd give it shot.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by dbh » August 15th, 2014, 9:05 am

Here is a link to one of Gordon Rodda's earlier and more interesting papers.
It is not about pythons.

Diversity: How to Lie with Biodiversity
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdm_usdanwrc/657/

I found it to be interesting reading.

David

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Josh Holbrook » August 15th, 2014, 12:47 pm

WSTREPS wrote:Hey have any of you guys ever caught a python ? Tell me about it.


Ernie Eison

I'm not taking the time to read this whole thread; but if you want to find a python, now's the time. I've been out three times in the past week and haven't struck out any night -5 pythons (3 AOR, 2 DOR; 2 were hatchlings, one 5' and one 8'); and everybody else I've talked to has had similar success (Chris Gillette got one two weeks ago, Jake Scott got one last time he was down, etc.)


The hatchings I got were at three different areas of the Park (DOR hatchling at the entrance, AOR that got off the road at Dwarf Cypress, and AOR at Flamingo).

So, I've found, like, the rest of the 100-something pythons in the Everglades, right?

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 16th, 2014, 4:57 am

"Why does Gerry keep carrying on about Ernie having a lack of evidence for the things he says? Ernie certainly sounds like he knows what he's talking about. That should be enough, shouldn't it?"

Well, I guess folks will have to decide for themselves what's enough to persuade them to believe something. I personally hold to the old American adage about a person being innocent until proven guilty, as it seems like a good and fair way to treat people (and is definitely the way I would want to be treated myself), and of course it's mandated in our courts of law, but I guess in the court of public opinion it's up to each of us to live up to whatever standard we're comfortable with.

Ernie is clearly comfortable with dumping pretty much any kind of garbage his greedy, angry imagination can think up to attack wildlife scientists/science, especially if they have ever had anything to do with or even just commented on the Everglades python situation. And so far as his rhetorical ability to attack these people/this profession goes, well, let's say that he knows just enough to be dangerous. He does have relevant knowledge and experience, doubtless due largely to his commercial trade in these snakes (his anger very apparently stems from how public policy decisions resulting from the Everglades python situation are curtailing his profit-seeking activities, for which he blames the scientists). Unfortunately, in his posts he blends that seamlessly with factual information (some blatantly false, but no matter to him) he's lifted from other sources, and most especially with prolific personal attacks based on nothing but his own fevered imagination. He tries to drag us all into Ernie's World, where whatever Ernie says is to be treated as indisputable, and sometimes he even sounds persuasive in the effort.

Make no mistake, though, Ernie's proclamations about The Way Things Are are merely that, proclamations he's made without a shred of evidence but presented as well-established fact. The only place they have any meaning at all is in Ernie's World. Let's look at one brief paragraph from his most recent post as an (ample) example of what I'm talking about:
WSTREPS wrote:A good percentage of an invasive biologist income is the result of federal funding. Tax payer money. Making this a Federal issue is critically important to these biologist. That is why team python is so hell bent on proving these snakes can survive in what is referred to as a "temperate climate". Outside of Florida.
Has Ernie pointed the way to a credible source documenting that any percentage of any invasive biologist's income comes from federal funding? No. Ernie either doesn't understand or it doesn't matter to him that such biologists actually find employment in a number of situations, including academia and even the private sector, not just in government agencies. He also doesn't understand or care that: 1) For such biologists working outside of government, using whatever public monies they receive for their research to instead pad their own income (which actually comes from the university or company that employs them) would legally constitute a breach of contract for which they could and would be prosecuted were it to be discovered. 2) Even for such biologists working within government, the monies they receive for their research are handled entirely separately from their salaries; I don't know whether they would be prosecuted for taking research monies to pad their salaries, but I believe so, and I do know they would be fired. 3) Quite to the contrary from what Ernie is saying, it is not all that uncommon for wildlife scientists, especially early in their careers, to take some of their own salaries - money which is in fact entirely theirs to do with as they see fit, just as everyone else does with their paychecks - and use that money to augment whatever funding they have received from whatever sources, to cover gaps and ensure they can get their research done. It's not something they want to do, of course, but if they can afford to do it then it's sometimes much more palatable to them than having their research go wanting for the lack of a bit of money.

How do I know these things? Where are my credible sources? Well, beyond my own testimony about my own career as a wildlife biologist I'm not going to offer you any; I'm simply going to tell you that this is how things have gone for me and colleagues I have known. Bear in mind, too, that I'm not standing here accusing people/their profession of wrongdoing and expecting you to accept my accusations simply because I'm making them.

I'll also point out to you yet again that the wildlife biologists being targeted by Ernie (or any others, for that matter) are not by any means living the high life. He's constantly ranting here about the supposedly huge sums of money being thrown at these people for their research. If they're illegally skimming money for their own use as he says, what on earth are they spending it on? Are they just stuffing it under their mattresses and burying it in their backyards? They're certainly living fairly modest lives from all outward appearances.

None of this matters to Ernie, though, and in Ernie's World it's not supposed to matter to you, either. If he says it, it must be so!

Likewise, he's offered not a shred of independent evidence that so much as suggests that making the Everglades python situation "a Federal issue" is at all important to these biologists, let alone critically. Again, he doesn't understand or care that by far the norm is for wildlife biologists to end up working on many subjects over the course of their careers, and that many of them are actually working on multiple subjects at any given time.

No matter! If Ernie says it, it must be so!

Likewise, Ernie has often referred to this vast conspiracy of wildlife biologists either personally misbehaving in the fashion he describes or helping others to hide it, and in the brief paragraph above he refers to it as "team python." Has he (or anyone else) ever offered any evidence whatsoever of such a conspiracy? Of course not. Does it even make sense? Of course not.

No matter! If Ernie says it, it must be so!

How about his statement that they're "hell bent on proving these snakes can survive..."? Again, no, he's offered no evidence nor even anything resembling it to suggest that the scientists he's attacking are trying to rig their results. At its heart science is about acquiring information about the natural world in as unbiased a manner as possible, about learning. Going out to try to prove pet beliefs, let alone to fraudulently and illegally build a case for some belief for money, would be acting in direct opposition to this. Are there nonetheless any scientists who act this way, who pretend at science rather than actually practice it? Yeah, of course there are. Scientists are humans just like the people in any other profession, and are capable of all the kinds of misbehavior humans are capable of. But there are an awful lot of easier ways to acquire money and fame (which Ernie has also often suggested the folks he's attacking are seeking) than wildlife science, and the kind of people who tend to be drawn to such a field in the first place tend to place a higher priority on truth than on money and fame, besides. If or when Ernie or anyone else ever uncovered any actual evidence of such scientific wrongdoing, too, the rest of us wildlife scientists would certainly like to see it so we could use it to chase the wrongdoers from our ranks.

But... go ahead, say it with me this time... no matter! If Ernie says it, it must be so!

So what is that, no fewer that four totally unsupported accusations that Ernie has made against wildlife scientists/science just in that one short paragraph? He's certainly determined and prolific, I'll give him that!

But my advice to everyone else remains solid: Don't trust Ernie Eison to tell you that the sky is blue without first looking up to see for yourself. Whatever relevant knowledge and experience he might have on a subject, the fact that he's demonstrably dishonest, clearly motivated by profit and has an incredibly large axe to grind against wildlife scientists/science (for daring to get in the way of that profit) makes him absolutely untrustworthy. If he can't point you to a credible source that you can check for yourself to see that he's being truthful and accurate for a change (and by all means do check his source, don't just take his word that it says what he claims it says, either), then treat what he says as the utter garbage it generally is. It's a pity, but what are you going to do? He's become a piteous character... :(

Gerry

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Aaron » August 16th, 2014, 8:51 am

gbin
If they're illegally skimming money for their own use as he says, what on earth are they spending it on?
I don't think Ernie ever said they were skimming money.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 17th, 2014, 3:51 am

Aaron wrote:I don't think Ernie ever said they were skimming money.
I don't recall whether he's ever used those exact words, but I don't see that it matters. He routinely talks about huge sums of money being involved and about wildlife scientists being corrupted by it. He also speaks of scientists' funding and income interchangeably, as if there's no difference between these. Whether he does this as a deliberate deceit or because he's ignorant of how things really work, it's abundantly clear that he wants people to connect the dots that he's drawing from funding to scientists' pockets. With nothing whatsoever to support him except his own proclamations, of course.

Gerry

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by sawfish » August 18th, 2014, 6:09 am

I like turtles

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Kelly Mc » August 19th, 2014, 12:02 am

sawfish wrote:I like turtles

Where's the hand over face emoticon?

Dude, really.

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Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by WSTREPS » August 19th, 2014, 2:53 pm

Abstract
Biodiversity is the bandwagon of the moment. Unfortunately, the concept is sufficiently complex that almost any population biology study, with almost any conclusion, can be framed as an effort to measure or conserve biodiversity. Based on what 1 have seen in the literature and heard at recent scientific meetings, here is a primer on some of the more popular ways to bend biodiversity data.

Suppose you wish to claim that a species is disappearing. With the explanation that time and funding were limited, you might present population trajectories based on as few as two estimates of abundance. Perhaps the final abundance estimate was obtained during a drought year. Use a technique for estimating abundance that has untested assumptions. Avoid stating confidence limits. Under these conditions a coin toss would suggest that about half of the species should show declines. If yours does, publish.

If it does not, find a post hoc explanation to account for the result. For example, hypothesize that dry weather reduced or increased activity and distorted your counts. Give your conclusion some statistical rigor by correlating weather phenomena with measures of abundance. But of course don't test the weather hypothesis against an independent data set.

Diversity: How to Lie with Biodiversity
Gordon H. Rodda
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This composition is a written confession to data skewing left by the guilty party. Thanks for posting the link.

Heres a direct link to the full paper. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewc ... m_usdanwrc

In many ways Gordon H. Roddas paper is a blueprint used by himself and his invasive associates. The techniques used to bend the data as its described in the paper can be found thru out the works of the Invasive Python team. Gordon H. Rodda himself owns up to what goes on and the games played with data to achieve the desired results. This paper was written many years before the Invasive Python crew came together, but its words ring as true today with this group [ The invasive Python crew] as the day it was written.

The purpose of cooking the books so to speak, on the part of the Invasive Python squad. Is to convince people that there is an urgency to fund their projects. The importance of making this a federal issue is simple. There is a lot more funding involved with federal issues then with state issues.The importance of convincing people that the pythons have the ability to survive outside of Florida in the US goes along ways towards getting that federal financial backing. Gordon Rodda's career was built on tens of millions of dollars in federal funding. No doubt it has inspired others who would like to enjoy the same success.

The field herping part,
Posted: July 20th, 2014, 3:16 pm

I also had timing on my side. In this part of the western hemisphere the environmental factors are prime for a hunt of this nature. Adults are on the move and the young are hatching. This combination of factors greatly increases the species visibility. In turn this creates the illusion that the population is exploding.
Ernie Eison

Posted: August 15th, 2014, 12:47 pm

I'm not taking the time to read this whole thread; but if you want to find a python, now's the time. I've been out three times in the past week and haven't struck out any night -5 pythons (3 AOR, 2 DOR; 2 were hatchlings, one 5' and one 8'); and everybody else I've talked to has had similar success (Chris Gillette got one two weeks ago, Jake Scott got one last time he was down, etc.)

The hatchings I got were at three different areas of the Park (DOR hatchling at the entrance, AOR that got off the road at Dwarf Cypress, and AOR at Flamingo).
Josh Holbrook
Compare the top statement I made to the follow up statement. It's like I previsioned it.

The men and women of the Invasive Python crew love to ignor and dismiss the facts. Id like to present a few of the many examples. They are too numerous to fully cover.

The rumor,
“The fertility and long-term viability of such hybrids [ between
Burmese Pythons and Northern African Pythons] is unexplored. It is
conceivable that introduction of African genes to the Indian Python
population could result in increased genetic variability that could
allow exploitation of new ecological or physiological niches and/or
result in some other type of hybrid vigor. Such a scenario has
become more likely in the face of recent evidence for a population of
Northern African Pythons along the western edge of Miami, an area within the introduced range of Indian (Burmese) Pythons.”
This is another outlandish statement on the part of the Invasive Python gang. Absolutely nothing to support this hypothesis has ever been seen in pythons. Based on what is known about these snakes. It is a dubious statement.There have been numerous hybridization's of various pythons. The most common result is low viability, fecundity, sterility. In no case has a more robust strain been the end product. The known facts are once again completely ignored in the author's statement. Also Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) are not Indian pythons (Python molurus). They are not interchangeable as the author states. Never were . Even if the correct current taxononmy is ignored. It is yet another dubious tactic used by the Invasive Python team to treat these animals as if they were a single species. It helps when skewing data. Rodda touches on using seperate taxon to bend the end result of a study. This ploy has been used extensively by the Invasive Python crew.

Deception thru terminology,

In an attempt to win over people that the pythons are capable of moving North to occupy the US from Delaware to San Frisco or at least get out of Florida. The Python researchers often employ the word temperate. Naturally, they never really define what they mean by temperate, leaving it up to the reader's interpretation.

Show me anything in herpetological literature that describes Burmese pythons as a temperate species. Burmese pythons like all the big constrictors are tropical creatures. The researchers' own experiments have demonstrated this.
The pile of frozen pythons is the proof.

If South Florida experienced the type of moderate cold snap, it did several years ago annually. We would not be talking about pythons in the Everglades. The Everglades is called a semitropical environment and freezing conditions are rare and short in duration. All known facts support that the long term establishment and survival of Burmese pythons North of Sarasota Florida is a biological impossibility. In spite of this the Invasive python researcher's have worked very hard to convince people otherwise. Why? It has nothing to do with controlling the Everglades population. I think it should be obvious at this point to all but those in complete denial why.

The researchers chatter that the pythons that came through the cold snap could evolve behaviors that could permit them to adjust to colder climates. Is completely unfounded. Once more, on that point is nothing historically known that supports this impression. Based on what is known about these animals all existing evidence goes against the idea that these animals are capable of passing along traits connected to thermoregulatory behaviors that would allow them to adapt to unnaturally cold climates.

This outrageous notion was brought up by the Gcrap following their disastrous experiments. Its nothing more than a desperate damage control effort .

The unfounded speculation,
" Other than a few individuals captured crossing roads, often very late at night, hatchlings are seldom seen. They apparently grow rapidly, and most pythons are about (5 feet 2.7 m); long by the end of their first year." Invasive python Team
They haven't found many hatchlings, but they can state that MOST grow rapidly? They have no idea what most wild hatchlings do or that most reach 5 ft by the end of their first year. Its true a Burmese python can reach 5 ft. in a year. It's also true that at 7 or 8 years of age or older a Burmese python can be only 5 ft. The median annual growth rate is dependent on many environmental variables. No one has any idea how fast " most pythons" grow. in nature. The authors should have explained this. They didn't want to.

The myth ,
Mike Dorcas book he says large Burmese pythons CERTAINLY do exceed 20 feet and can approach 25 feet in length.
With no accepted or verifiable records that Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus )exceed 20 feet. Why do the python researchers so often claim they do reach 20 ft or more ? I have yet to see the largest verifiable measurement 18 ft. 10 " for this species in any of the literature published by the Invasive team. Why ? Is it a standard scientific practice to accept anecdotal tales over verified fact?
I caught a rubber boa last week. Does that count for anything?
I would probably be scared to catch a python but I'd give it shot.
I guess if thats all you got.

Ernie Eison

User avatar
gbin
Posts: 2293
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:28 pm

Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by gbin » August 19th, 2014, 5:36 pm

WSTREPS wrote:This composition is a written confession to data skewing left by the guilty party...
Actually, it's a rather sarcastic admonition from its author to other scientists on how not to do things. Here's what Ernie neglected to copy/paste from the paper:
Unfortunately, it is easier to add up the ways in which the concept of biodiversity can be misused than it is to present a simple solution to the extremely complex problem of measuring or maintaining biological diversity. The public is unclear on the concept, and scientists cannot give a simple answer. There is broad agreement only that humankind should prevent anthropogenic extinctions. Perhaps we should build on this consensus rather than undermining it with dubious measurements of biodiversity.

Perhaps we need to recognize that for scientists to combine partial data with advocacy is counterproductive in the long run.

Perhaps conservation biologists need a consensus declaration that short-term, taxonomically narrow, or local diversity studies are inappropriate tools for the long-term conservation of global biodiversity. If anthropogenic declines are our primary concern, perhaps we need to refocus our attention on (1) rangewide status surveys that will provide firm baseline data, (2) evidence that anthropogenic causes are responsible for demonstrable population changes, and (3) identification of the proximate mechanisms that link human activities with species loss. These avenues of study will not be as easy or as much fun as blunderbuss sampling of biodiversity, but they may keep the concept from becoming tawdry through uncritical application.
But of course Ernie doubtless read that as well - it's a short paper, after all, and he's shown ample facility with (attempting to manipulate people by abusing) the English language - and simply decided to use the opportunity presented by the portion he quoted to perpetrate another deceit here.

Of course, too, even if Ernie were to find someone who genuinely made accusations against wildlife scientists such as he routinely uses these message boards to make (maybe you should pore over Fox News' website, Ernie - surely you can find some garbage there that's quite similar to your own), that's not at all the same thing as evidence that those accusations really have any merit. Evidence for Ernie's accusations remains conspicuously absent, and his games are meant to distract people from that fact.

As I said before:
gbin wrote:... Don't trust Ernie Eison to tell you that the sky is blue without first looking up to see for yourself. Whatever relevant knowledge and experience he might have on a subject, the fact that he's demonstrably dishonest, clearly motivated by profit and has an incredibly large axe to grind against wildlife scientists/science (for daring to get in the way of that profit) makes him absolutely untrustworthy. If he can't point you to a credible source that you can check for yourself to see that he's being truthful and accurate for a change (and by all means do check his source, don't just take his word that it says what he claims it says, either), then treat what he says as the utter garbage it generally is. It's a pity, but what are you going to do? He's become a piteous character... :(
Indeed, his latest shenanigans with that Rodda paper are just more direct proof of one of the points I made then, that folks should check any source he offers for themselves to see whether it actually is as he portrays it. Not that he bothers to cite any sources for most of the "known facts" that he regularly posts here to try to bolster his rants... :roll:

Gerry

Aaron
Posts: 287
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:46 pm

Re: Everglades monster constrictor hunt. Doing my part.

Post by Aaron » August 19th, 2014, 10:13 pm

But my advice to everyone else remains...
...that the sky is blue
I agree.

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