Target: Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee
Goal: Advocate for the introduction of endangered timber rattlesnake to the Quabbin Watershed Area despite public outcry.
The reintroduction of an endangered timber rattlesnake to an island in the Quabbin Reservoir is being considered by the Massachusetts State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Many citizens have voiced displeasure about this possibility, fearing that snakes will take over their neighborhoods and hiking trails. Some have compared the conservation effort to the plot of a horror movie.
Detractors’ reactions are largely based on ignorance of the state’s reintroduction plan, as well as unfair biases against snakes. The state is planning to introduce ten snakes at a time to the island in an effort to promote the species’ viability and mitigate its endangered status.
Many people harbor deep fears about snakes, and many fail to acknowledge their ecological value. Even conservationists and animal rights activists sometimes stop short of extending their pro-animal ideology to snakes, essentially considering them pests, or worse, killers.
Conversely, when endangered species happen to be cute, like the polar bear or snow leopard, they see widespread support despite their ability to kill. Timber rattlesnakes are shy creatures who, like other animals, use their defenses when they sense danger. The species is imperiled and, like any other endangered animal, worthy of protection regardless of our personal fears and biases against it.
It would be shameful if widespread public ignorance about the timber rattlesnake influenced conservation policy. The Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee has the ability to impact policy as well as public opinion matters of import to the Quabbin Watershed area.
The development of a public education program to promote understanding of the reintroduction plan, as well as understanding of snakes in general, could go a long way toward changing public opinion. Urge this organization to voice their support of the reintroduction plan and, in every way possible, facilitate introduction of the endangered timber rattlesnake to the Quabbin Reservoir.
Dear Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee,
The timber rattlesnake is an imperiled species that deserves the benefits of conservation regardless of people’s personal biases against snakes. We, the undersigned, believe that all animals have value, and that all endangered species deserve the protections that conservation efforts allow.
It would be shameful for widespread public ignorance about snakes to influence beneficial wildlife policy. Please use the full power of your voice to support the introduction of the timber rattlesnake to the Quabbin Watershed Area.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Clinton and Charles Robertson