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Pythons Linked to Florida Everglades Mammal Decline

from BBC News Online

Non-native Burmese pythons are the likely cause of a dramatic mammal decline in Florida's Everglades. A team studied road surveys of mammals in the Everglades National Park before and after pythons became common.

Researchers found a strong link between the spread of pythons and drops in recorded sightings of racoons, rabbits, bobcats and other species. In PNAS journal, they report that observations of several mammal species have declined by 90% or more.

The national park covers the southern 25% of the original Everglades--a region of subtropical wetlands that has been drained over the last century to reclaim it for human use. The origins of Burmese pythons in south Florida are unknown, but many were imported into the US through the pet trade.

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