TALLAHASSEE -- A researcher and three conservation
groups want the eastern diamondback rattlesnake protected.
They asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday for
threatened species status for venomous the snakes.
Tallahassee researcher Bruce Means said they are a wildlife treasure that shouldn't be allowed to go extinct.
Only 2 or 3 percent of the reptile's original habitat remains and thousands are killed every year at "rattlesnake roundups" in
Georgia and Alabama.
The numbers of snakes captured at the roundups, however, has
declined in recent years and their weights also have dropped.
Means joined with the Center for Biological Diversity and the groups Protect All Living Species and One More Generation to file the request.
A review process is expected to take several years before a decision is made.