Park rangers in California’s Santa Monica Mountains have begun to remove plywood traps used to poach snakes and other reptiles.
National Park Service Rangers working in the Santa Monica National Recreation Area are removing sheets of plywood and carpet scraps that are being used as crude traps to capture snakes and other reptiles.
The Park Service was forced to organize a cleanup after the discovery of some 60 sheets of plywood and a small amount of carpet that appeared more like trash, hiding the secret of its intention. This apparent ‘junk’ is easy for the reptiles to get under on hot days, but unbeknownst to the animals are the holes and buckets waiting to trap them.
This recent case was based in the Decker Canyon area and unfortunately did not lead to an arrest, but it does highlight that all plants and animals existing on national parkland are protected under the law, whether endangered or not.
Trouper Snow, chief ranger for the SMNRA was quoted as saying, “We have to stay on top of it. It’s a national park and we want to protect the animals … so the natural ecosystem can remain intact and our future generations can continue to enjoy the same species that exist there today.”
Snow added, “You wouldn’t think that most of the public would want to collect and handle rattlesnakes, but there are people that do” Since wildlife poaching isn’t just limited to “normal” targets like deer, bear, and other prized big game animals, the Ranger Service reminds the public that they are ever vigilant.
It goes without saying that if hikers or other outdoor enthusiasts come across plywood, carpet, or other out-of-place junk in the wild to steer clear and report it to the rangers as there may be snakes, particularly poisonous snakes, underneath.
The park dispatch number is listed as (661) 723-3620.
All photos via National Park Service