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Herpetologists. Prepared by Henry R. Mushinsky and Alan H. Savitzky with
contributions from Edmund Brodie, Jr., William Brown, Jonathan Campbell,
Kevin Enge, Lee Fitzgerald, Harry Greene, Patrick Gregory, John Jensen, Paul
Moler, Charlie Painter, Andy Price, and Walter Timmerman.

Position of The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Concernin Rattlesnake Conservation and RoundupsProposed position paper for the American Society of Ichthyologists and


The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, an international
society of about 2,000 professional scientists who specialize in the biology and
conservation of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles, strongly opposes traditional
rattlesnake roundups. Such roundups promote overexploitation of natural
populations of wildlife, unnecessary killing and inhumane treatment of
individual animals, degradation of habitat, and promotion of outdated attitudes
toward important elements of America’s natural heritage. Found nowhere but
in the Americas, and especially diverse in the United States, the more than
thirty species of rattlesnakes comprise a distinctive component of North
America’s biodiversity, and one that is increasingly imperiled.
SUPPORTING INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.

ZAA Position Statement on Rattlesnake Roundups

hereas The Zoological Association of America is dedicated to the responsible care and preservation of all life forms and the education of the general public concerning the value, conservation and the place of all living things in our greater biomass and the fragile web of life, we believe it is appropriate to formulate, authorize and disseminate this position statement. Further although historically, snake round ups may have provided an acceptable venue for the control of venomous snakes that could pose a danger to livestock and people in the areas where they occur, it is our studied opinion that they no longer perform this function. Moreover in general although they purport to educate the general population about the value and lives of venomous snakes, the continued containment, transportation and destruction of their natural populations and habitats appears unnecessary and in most cases destructive to the normal populations of not only snakes but other animals that share their habitats and ultimately the balance of the habitats themselves in which the unnatural uncontrolled extraction of animals occurs. A thoroughly studied opinion of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) found multiple rationales for the end of the traditional rattlesnake roundups and concluded by encouraging “...local communities to replace anachronistic events with festivals that celebrate the role of the rattlesnakes in nature and recognizes their significance as a historic symbol of our nation...”. We should do no less than that. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the board of directors of the Zoological Association of America that our members should, at very least, refrain from supporting or participating in the destructive activities e.g. the collection, removal, display, milking and killing of uncontrolled numbers of snakes for entertainment purposes.

Approved by the ZAA Board of Directors, March 2015

AZA Position Statement on Rattlesnake Roundups

Approved by the AZA Board of Directors in March 1999

The AZA condemns the cruel and ecologically destructive practice of rattlesnake roundups and encourages its member institutions to actively oppose such activity through public education and the support of relative legislation.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums ♦ 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710 ♦ Silver Spring, MD 20910 ♦ 301-562-0777 www.aza.org

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