The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue Called on to Ban Rattlesnake Roundups


In a letter
sent today to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, the Center for Biological
Diversity is urging the state to outlaw rattlesnake roundups. Roundups
are annual contests in which hunters bring in as many snakes as they
can catch in a year. A recently published study shows that roundups have depleted populations of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in the southeastern United States.

killing of wildlife has been banned for most animals for decades, but
not for rattlesnakes," said Tierra Curry, a biologist at the Center.
"This abhorrent practice is harming rattlesnake populations and should
be stopped."

The eastern diamondback was once a
common species, but is now being pushed toward extinction by hunting
pressure, habitat loss, and road mortality. An analysis of 50 years of
roundup data shows that both the total number of snakes and the size of
individual snakes have declined over a 50-year time span, and that
hunters must now drive hundreds of miles to find snakes for the event.
The snake hasn't been seen in Louisiana since 1980, and is now uncommon
throughout its range in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and the

"Rattlesnakes serve an important role in
the food chain by controlling rodent populations and should be
respected," said Curry. "With populations in decline, rattlesnakes need

Two Georgia towns still hold
roundups. The Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup is Saturday, January 30. Some
claim that the roundups protect public health, but eastern diamondbacks
rarely bite, and more people are killed in the United States each year
by dog bites, lightning strikes, or bee stings than by venomous snake
bites. The roundups are not necessary to obtain antivenin, as major
producers of antivenin only purchase it from approved suppliers under
sterile conditions and have stated that they do not purchase it from

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252