orginize an essay | Lecture Loop

i want you to orginize this essay on the following form:

Here is the main question that your essay should be focused on: What can be done about the snake

now? I gave you and Wenjiang some questions to help you develop information to answer

that question. Having looked at your draft, I see that you have lots of good information;

however, it lacks clear organization. Your discussion goes back and forth between fashion and

hunting, so what you need is a clear outline. This may help you to re-organize the information

you have. Remember, you have lots of good detail, but it needs more carefully organized. This

may help you.

1. Introduction – Your opening paragraph is fine – it gives basic information about the

snake’s natural history, but you need to connect it to your main question – the problem

this snake has created in the Everglades and what can be done about it. For example, I

could conclude your introduction this way: Yet despite being endangered in its native

Asian habitat because of hunting for its skin, the Burmese python is thriving in a

habitat it was never meant to occupy – the Florida Everglades. In fact, estimates of

its population there are anywhere from 30-100,000 and rising. And while this is

good news for the species, it has been an ecological disaster for the native species

that inhabit the Everglades. The rapid growth of this snake and its voracious

appetite has reduced populations of rabbits, opossums, raccoons, foxes, and all

manner of water birds by as much as 90% in areas where the snake thrives. And

since the Everglades is a good habitat for it – warm with lots of prey and no physical

barriers – what can be done to stop this snake’s growth in numbers and spread into

other areas of Florida and beyond? That could then lead in to your body

paragraphs about how to try to stop the damage it is causing by controlling this snake’s


a. The first way to reduce their numbers is to hunt them.

1) How has that operated so far? – Who has been hunting? (state-

sponsored hunts, individually licensed hunters) Why? How successful

has this hunting been? Why?

2) Did they get as many as they wanted? How many are out there? How

fast is their population growing?

3) What might be done to improve the hunting? (Could the state pay a lot

more/snake? Is this the only way to get more snakes?

b. Another way to motivate people to find and kill more pythons is through

selling snakeskins to the fashion industry.

4) How are pythons used now in fashion? How popular is it? How much

money is there in the business?

5) How many pythons are killed for this business? Where do they come

from (SE Asia)?

6) Could this be done in Florida’s Everglades? How? What are the

economics that could make that happen?

c. Is hunting enough? – Are there other ways to get them?

7) How fast are they reproducing? Is the number caught greater than the

reproduction rate?

8) Are there any techniques for finding these breeding females?

2. Does it have commercial value? Yes, indeed. The whole fashion business story. That

leads you to the questions of #2 – Does the python have any commercial value? Is it used

now commercially? If so, how? Could that motivate hunters to remove it from the

Everglades? So if it’s $$$ value can motivate hunters, then you have #3

3. Can it be hunted? How? Is hunting effective in reducing numbers? Does the state of

Florida sponsor organized hunts? How many have been caught, and what was done with

them? In general, what are the possibilities and difficulties of hunting it.

4. Finally, is hunting alone enough to control it? If not, then what else could help to control

it – disrupting its reproduction (using “tracker” male snakes to lead hunters to breeding

females)? Is that the only way to try to control it?



Burmese Pythons

Python bivitattus. This is the scientific name for the Burmese python. This type of python is found in Southeast Asia and is one of the largest species of reptiles there is on earth. It weighs up to 200lbs and has a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. Burmese pythons are carnivorous nature. They are characterized by chemical receptors in their tongues and heat sensors in their jaws. Both of which are used to stalk and kill their prey. In reproduction, the females lay eggs. The eggs are laid in batches of 100 eggs. They stay with their eggs for up to three months. There is an increasing demand for their skin and flesh. This increased demand for their skin and flesh has continually made their population decrease rapidly. They have even been put on the threatened species list. (National Geographic, 2010). The Burmese python is among the most traded pythons for their skin the most in Southeast Asia. (Russo, 2014).

Burmese pythons are very difficult to detect, especially in the wild. High densities of pythons, their accelerated and rapid rate of growth, perfect body conditions of pythons, and their large body size all suggest that pythons are consuming large numbers of native prey animals. It is, therefore, necessary to understand the ecological impacts pythons have on the habitat so as to protect the natural resources and in turn make protection of pythons a priority. (Pittman, et al., 2014). Burmese pythons are also found in Everglades, which is a national park in Florida. However, in this park, they are a threat to the rest of the wildlife. When it comes to controlling the population of the species, dogs are used, and they have a 73% more success rate compared to humans. The thick vegetation still poses as a barrier for the dogs. The risk of the dogs being attacked by the pythons is also a threat. Using dogs for tracking the pythons is also more expensive than using just human effort.

Tracking the pythons in water in the substrates with thick layers of limestone also makes it difficult for the dogs to do their work. Trapping a Burmese python is also not easy. Trapping is knowing the traditional way of capturing snakes. In capturing the snakes, drift fences are used. They should be erected in a way that the snakes cannot pass through them. However, the thick layers of limestone in the park do not make it any easy to erect the fence. Trapping is tedious and hectic, but it could work if the snakes are being captured on a small scale. Using bio methods to control the population of the snakes is slowly coming up. This involves the introduction of a virus which only affects the Burmese pythons. It is necessary to ensure that only the pythons can be affected otherwise other species will be affected as well. This method is also nonviolent to the snakes. Additionally, predators could be introduced to control the population. For example, jaguars have been known to control the population of anacondas in Southeast Asia. The use of bounty hunters is also being used as a way of controlling the population of the pythons. Many locals have taken up this offer since, in the process, they earn money. (Burmese pythons in Florida, 2019).

Another method of controlling the pythons is by using a thermal strategy. This strategy employs the skills of a hunter and a certified thermographer. The thermographer adjusts the camera settings, documentation of the data, and interpretation of any thermal signals. A drone operated by the team scans the area and the recon team determines the locations of the targets. Conditions surrounding the targets are also identified. A Zen muse aerial thermal camera powered by FLIR is what the removal team uses. For this phase a commercial thermal drone that can also record GPS data is paramount. This drone is used to confirm the target is a Burmese, better identify the conditions near the target, and confirm the location of nesting pythons; all this without disturbing the snake in the process, and with low human impact to the environment. When pythons are captured, they are euthanized by USNPS personnel. All python nests found in South Florida are also destroyed. ( Bruni, 2018).

Most of the exploited animals are usually caught from the wild. Others are reportedly “captive-bred,”. However, experts say that they are caught in the wild then laundered. The creatures are captured from the wild and put into boxes and go without food and water, prior to sale. Snakes are hit with a steel bar. The snakes are then hung by their heads and a hose is used to fill each with water as this makes it easier to peel their skin. Some snakes are still alive as their skins are peeled from their bodies; head to tail. Most of the skins, once processed, are sold and exported – mainly to Europe to be manufactured into garments, shoes, wallets, watchbands, and other fashion accessories. (Animal Welfare Institute, 2011). Attention has been put on Southeast Asia, although these animals are captured from all over the world. In April 2011, officials from gathered in Guangzhou, China, snake trade in Asia. Reports showed what they were afraid of: the practice is widely unregulated, therefore endangering the species. (Animal Welfare Institute, 2011).

Snakes often are skinned alive so as not to mar the skin and reduce their commercial value. (Indian Python, 2019). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had an expenditure of more than $6 million since 2005. All this has been to try and find solutions to the problem of Burmese pythons. It has been reported that damages to the economy due to these species are about $120 billion per year in the United States. Agencies, for instance, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); are in cahoots to prevent the species from spreading to the entire US. The Service and its partners have spent an average of about $720,000 annually on these efforts since 2005. The expenditure is as shown below;

  • The Service spent $604,656 in the design of traps for pythons.
  • $334,000 was on research and salaries. An additional $300,000 will go to the USDA’s Wildlife Services for nonnative large constrictor snake control activities.
  • The National Park Service has spent $317,000 annually on several programs, like eradicating snakes biologically from the park.

Many other endangered species are found in Florida and other states and territories that would be threatened by large constrictor snakes. Once the threat is eliminated, the species can then be recovered. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012)

In the fashion industry, any statement piece is always desired, especially if it is from a renowned designer. There was a comeback of the snake print in 2011 at fashion shown from Milan all the way to New York. In these shows, some of the designers went with snake print patterns while other designers used actual skins of reptiles like the snake. The use of snake skins was quite a trend at that time and many designers bagged millions of dollars in the process. Traditionally, the early man used snakeskin to protect themselves and keep warm. In the present world, however, this is usually used as a decorative and statement piece. (Animal Welfare Institute, 2011). The use of python skin is becoming very controversial lately. Conservation of wildlife is becoming a major concern among the users of these fashion pieces. However, these concerns have started being confronted by the same industry. A large number of python skin is gotten from Southeast Asia. Most of this skin is usually ends up in the European fashion industry. Some of the designers and brands that end up with the skin are Prada, Dior, Chanel, Giorgio Armani; amongst others. The European fashion industry accounts for 96% of the value of the snakeskin trade. This percentage is approximately $1 billion, annually. Most of the pythons end up in the fashion industry either after being caught in the wild or after they have been bred while in captivity. (Russo, 2014). In the current fashion trends and the industry in general, snakeskin is used in making skirts, pants, shorts, amongst others; accessories like bows are even being made from snakeskin. Recently, a company known as Kering, which is behind some of the huge clothing brands like Alexander McQueen and Gucci, has established its own python farm. This farm is part of their move to improve the sustainability and standards of the environment. (The Guardian, 2017).

Commercially, many locals in Southeast Asia kill the Burmese pythons for money. Imports of snakeskin into Europe are also due to the high demand for its fashion products. It is difficult to determine where the skins come from due to poor regulations of the trade. The authors argue that in some locations, the methods used to kill the snakes are extremely cruel. To deal with snakeskin is considered such a high-end business. Half a million python skins are exported annually from South East Asia in a trade worth $1bn (£625m) a year. Naturally, illegal hunting of snakes is what most people live by. A villager might sell skin for $30, and the bag made from the same skin will go for $15,000.

The skin of 3-4 meters has the greatest demand. The issues are made worse by poorly enforced legislation. Illegally obtained skins were smuggled in cargoes. Due to many illegal practices in the python skin trade, their survival is at risk. People do not sympathize with snakes. Asians cannot be convinced that snake trade is not sustainable. The most common method used to kill them is striking them at the back of the skull. But in Vietnam, they are killed by filling them with air. It is just like suffocating them. After inflation, they suffocate and die. These ways are cruel yet there are more humane ways of doing it. According to Buddhist beliefs, this method was more humane than hitting the snakes or beheading them. (McGrath, 2012)

Hunters in Florida are paid $8.25 an hour to prowl the wetlands and earning on-the-spot bonuses that rise with the size of any snakes they fell. Pythons up to 4 feet long get you $50, with an additional $25 for every foot over 4 feet. Hunters can also make extra for bringing in a snake guarding eggs. (Charles, 2018)

In the fashion industry, there are claims that using snakeskin is endangering the lives of the snakes. Some fashion labels are even resulting in breeding the snakes themselves. A designer by the name Camille Zarsky started to look for these pythons so she could get snakeskin for her designs. This is because the pythons were in such large numbers in the Everglades Florida Park. Bizarre as it sounds, the problem is quite urgent. In January, the Florida Wildlife Commission invited 1,500 hunters, most of them amateurs, to embark on a “Python Challenge,” which offers cash prizes for the largest catches. (Professionals with permits can hunt the snakes year-round.) There is no accurate figure for the python population. She sees this as a chance to fix the python problem and to accentuate fashion designs. She wants to make an order for her bags made of natural skin in the range of $500 to $2,000. The Wildlife Commission wants to partner with big European luxury houses to discuss ways to monetize the snake problem. But though that is a possibility, it is at least a few years out. For one, the animals are difficult to catch in the murky swamps of the Everglades. January’s python challenge only yielded 68 snakes. But that has not stopped opportunists from trying to get ahead of the game. (Hines, 2013).

In the current state, all the 35,000 pythons used in the fashion industry are sourced from Asia. They are considered natives there. Although the snakes have a huge population in that part of the world, critics still oppose the killing of the pythons and also oppose the use of their skin for making fashion statements. This is because the exact population of the pythons is not known. Continual hunting of the pythons could actually be diminishing their population without actual knowledge of that. In a nutshell, the population of the python as it is is not adequately known but the snakes are still being used in the fashion industry. There is, however, the new practice where the fashion houses have their own snake farm where they rear the snakes and later use their skin for use in the fashion industry. (Hines, 2013). In conclusion, therefore, there is no shortage of supply of pythons in the fashion industry. The only barrier of sorts the industry is facing is activists of animal rights lobbying for the hunting to stop and if it should be done, it should be done in a controlled and monitored manner.

Currently, the pythons are being caught by hunters. These are the pythons out in the wild. These hunters have contracts with the fashion houses to sell the snake skins to them. They must, however, have licenses. Additionally, bounties are usually set and paid to the hunters when they kill the snakes. These are also seen as measures of controlling the python population. Catching snakes is not an easy task. The snakes are very long and heavy in weight. They can be caught using dogs, traps, or by modern ways. The dogs are able to sniff them out but at the same time, they are usually in danger of being attacked by the snakes. In addition to this, the wild has very thick and tall grass, and since the snakes are more used to it that the dogs, the snakes have an advantage and can outdo the dogs. In terms of trapping the snakes, the traps need to be really strong so they can adequately hold the snakes. The snakes should not have any opportunity of escaping or breaking free from the traps. The traps should also be able to neutralize the snakes so that they are not a threat to the hunters who come to get them from the traps. The technological ways of catching the snakes include the method of introducing a virus of using the thermographer; as earlier stated. Catching the snakes is not difficult for the hunters, if they have adequate experience and if they have adequate equipment for the same.

Snakeskin is considered to be a priced possession. This goes without saying for the clothes and the accessories it makes as well. Therefore, the hunters get great deals from selling the snake skins. Additionally, the hunters sell the snakeskin to high-end fashion designers who would pay any amount of money for the skin which is constantly on trend and on-demand. With money as the motivating factor, it is therefore correct to say that the snakeskin is motivating for people hunting them.

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