© Richard Bonnett
Thanks to everyone who took action on this issue, we’ll provide updates as they become available.
We have a sad, embarrassing history of persecuting animals we fear, often driving them to the brink of extinction. Timber rattlesnakes are one of many victims; they have been nearly extirpated from the northeastern United States due to mass slaughter and persecution. Timbers are highly social and their propensity to gather in groups has made them an easy target.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is taking steps to right that wrong. They plan to release headstarted timber rattlesnakes on Quabbin Island to add a sixth population to the state. The vegetation community and rock structure on Quabbin Island is similar to that occupied by timbers elsewhere and it is off-limits to the public, protecting the snakes from what is arguably the greatest threat to their survival.
But many misinformed members of the public want to stop this project. Armed with nothing more than the usual fears and myths about snakes, they are pressuring their lawmakers to halt the project. Now they need to hear from us, snake heroes. Tell the MA legislature that you support the Quabbin Island Rattlesnake Project!
The public will not be allowed to speak at the hearing at Athol Town Hall on May 10th, but we encourage locals to show up with signs demonstrating their support for snakes!
(This article originally appeared on ASP. It has been reprinted here with permission.)