BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP-AP) — A citizens’ advisory board that makes recommendations to Massachusetts officials has voted in favor of establishing a timber rattlesnake colony on an uninhabited island.
Representatives of several sporting, recreational and environmental organizations sit on the committee. Its job is to advise the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Water Supply Protection.
The state wants to establish the venomous snake colony on Mount Zion island, which is off-limits to humans.
Opponents of the plan fear the endangered snakes will get off the Quabbin Reservoir island and injure people and pets. The snakes are native to Massachusetts.
State officials and plan supporters say those fears are unfounded.
Following a public meeting in Athol, state officials said that they were going to continue the process of listening to local residents concerned about the proposal. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton stopped short of saying that the state would suspend the plan, but said that he wanted to continue discussion so that people would see the value of the project.
The plan is to start colonizing one to 10 snakes per year on Mount Zion, beginning next spring.
Information from: The (Greenfield, Mass.) Recorder, http://www.recorder.com
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