Hey folks, there has been a bit of excitement in Claxton lately. The Evans County Wildlife Club, which runs the roundup, as agreed to halt the collection of snakes from the wild so long at GA DNR is able to provide 40-50 Diamondbacks for use at the festival. These snakes would not be handled in demonstrations and would be returned to DNR at the end of the event for use in future years. This is not a complete fix but I feel it is a huge step in the right direction. The end to collecting snakes from the wild and killing them after the festival, as it has bee ndone there for 45 years, is not a legal agreement and the Wildlife Club could very well decide to go back to the old ways in the future. At the moment they are receiving some positive feedback from wildlife enthusiasts but some flak from locals. At this point in time it would be extremely helpful to send emails to some of the folk in charge commending them on their decision to not collect snakes and kill them. Positive support now will help reassure them that they have made the right decision and possibly save the lives of HUNDREDS of wild Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes in the decade to come.
Below are correspondences I have received.
Claxton, Georgia has recently agreed to no longer collect rattlesnakes for their annual roundup as long as Georgia DNR provides 40-50 rattlesnakes to exhibit. The event is March 9-10, which doesn’t give them much time to amass snakes. If you or someone you know has several rattlesnakes that they would be willing to loan for this event, please let me know and I’ll inform John. It looks like DNR staff will have to come to Florida to pick up the snakes, and your snakes will be returned to you afterwards. The snakes will be displayed outside in wire screen cages and will not be part of any handling demonstrations. For future roundups, this roundup of captive Florida snakes will not be needed.
And an email from John Jensen, who spearheaded this negotiation:
The Evans County Wildlife Club, the group that organizes the Claxton Rattlesnake Roundup, decided last week to discontinue the annual rounding-up of wild rattlesnakes, opting to turn the event into a wildlife-friendly festival (note the new name in subject line). Instead of annually harvesting up to 300+ wild snakes that are ultimately slaughtered, Claxton will be provided (by DNR) with a captive source of 40-50 rattlesnakes each year to maintain the "wow" effect, but these animals will only be displayed. These snakes and their captive-produced offspring will be used year after year.
Bruce Purcell, the president of the Evans County Wildlife Club really stuck out his neck on this change and is already getting a good amount of flak about it from locals and those that profited on the wild snakes. Below this email is the address for the club. If you support this effort, I urge you to please write letters to Bruce and the club, praising them for this positive change. Further, I also strongly encourage you to come to the event (Mar. 10-11) to show support. If this new format is not successful, they will certainly go back to the way it was, which we don't want. Please forward or pass along this request for writing letters of support and attending the event to anyone else you know that would be supportive of this change.
Messages of support and encouragement can be sent to the Claxton Chamber of Commerce, which still has members skeptical of the decision, at [email protected]
It would also be helpful to contact the Evans County Wildlife Club to voice support of their decision
Evans County Wildlife Club
PO Box 292
Claxton, Georgia 30417
I'm sorry but I do not, at the moment, have an email address for the wildlife club.