This seems like a smart idea.
BOSTON (AP) — A plan by the state to establish a colony of venomous timber rattlesnakes on an off-limits island in Massachusetts’ largest body of water has some rattled by visions of dangerous serpents slithering through the surrounding woods, attacking hikers, fishermen and hunters.
Those are completely irrational fears based on the public’s aversion to snakes, said Tom French of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who’s directing the project at the 39-square mile Quabbin Reservoir and representing the state at a public meeting Tuesday to address the concerns.
French said he’s received several emails and phone calls from worried residents who fear the snakes will escape the island.
“People are afraid that we’re going to put snakes in a place of public use and that they are going to breed like rabbits and spread over the countryside and kill everybody,” he said.
There are only about 200 of the endangered snakes indigenous to Massachusetts left in five scattered pockets from greater Boston to the Berkshires, French said. Loss of habitat and human-caused deaths means they could disappear altogether, which is why the Quabbin project is so critical.
The plan to establish the snakes on Mount Zion — at more than 1,400 acres, the largest island in the reservoir — has been in the works for several years. A handful of snakes will be raised at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, and placed on the island in a couple more years when they are mature enough to survive in the wild.
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