STAND WITH SCIENCE MASSACHUSETTS! TAKE ACTION NOW Preserving biodiversity means protecting all native species, even those that might be considered unpopular. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) has a long history of using the best available science to inform conservation and preserve wildlife. However, controversy over proposed efforts to protect timber rattlesnakes has resulted in a pending amendment to the Massachusetts state budget that would hamper MDFW’s ability to make independent conservation decisions now and in the future. A diverse coalition of biologists and conservationists support timber rattlesnake conservation in Massachusetts and their introduction to Mount Zion Island in the Quabbin Reservoir. We need to demonstrate both public support for the rattlesnake project, and trust in the expertise of MDFW so that the Conference Committee (who will decide which amendments to keep) will remove this amendment. Let’s let science drive conservation; let’s stand with science. There are many good reasons why this species should be preserved for future generations Timber rattlesnakes are an important part of our natural and cultural history Photo by Richard Bonnett They have suffered the greatest decline of any native reptile in modern history Photo by Richard Bonnett There are currently less than 200 individuals in Massachusetts in five small, isolated populations Photo by Harry Greene Mount Zion Island is off-limits to the public, ensuring public safety while protecting the snakes from what is arguably the greatest threat to their survival Photo by Harry Greene The vegetation community and rock structure on this island is ideal timber rattlesnake habitat Photo by Eric Nordberg Timber rattlesnakes are among the most social reptiles Photo by Richard Bonnett Timber rattlesnakes care for their young Photo by Harry Greene Females retain close ties with relatives throughout their lives Photo by Richard Bonnett Rattlesnakes can have a greater impact on fluctuating prey populations than their mammalian or avian counterparts Photo by Eric Nordberg The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife should be given the opportunity to implement their plan. Opposition, based on the usual fears and myths about snakes, has stalled the project. Senator Eric Lesser attached an amendment to the state budget that would put this project on hold for at least one year and require any future conservation efforts to be approved by the Massachusetts legislature. Typically, conservation decisions are made by MDFW; this amendment creates a precedent that could have far-reaching impacts on future conservation decisions in the Commonwealth. The bill is now in the hands of the Conference Committee who will decide which amendments to keep. We need to convince them to ditch this amendment, and let science drive conservation. Timber rattlesnake photo by Richard Bonnett Take a stand for snakes and science-based conservation. Urge the Massachusetts legislature to remove Senator Lesser’s amendment from the budget bill so MDFW can use their training and expertise to conserve timber rattlesnakes. TAKE MORE ACTION TWEET Spread the word: #StandWithScience and Timber Rattlesnake Conservation in Massachusetts! SHARE Share this campaign on Facebook. READ Check out our FAQ and find out more. THANK THESE SNAKE HEROES TWEET Let Senator Vinny deMacedo know we appreciate his support for timber rattlesnake conservation in Massachusetts! TWEET Tell Senator Bruce Tarr thanks for supporting rattlesnake conservation in Massachusetts! TWEET Give the Governor some gratitude for standing up for snakes! “This is an important step in the long-term preservation of a beautiful and valuable component of our rich natural heritage” Matthew R. Burne, Vernal Pool Association “We all bear the stewardship responsibility to care for our wildlife, even those less popular species” Jennifer Carlino, Massachusetts Society of Municipal Conservation Professionals “Thousands of people visit when snakes are active. We have never heard any complaints of rattlesnakes harming or threatening visitors” Judy Lehrer Jacobs, Friends of the Blue Hills “The proposed project is a vital step that must be taken to conserve this iconic animal, an animal that suffers from a bad image due to a huge amount of misinformation circulating among many members of the public” Wendy Howes, Ware River Nature Club Photographs by Richard Bonnett THE SECRET LIVES OF SNAKES Videos courtesy Polly Smith-Blackwell, PS Graphic Design. See more on our YouTube channel. Take Action Share on Facebook Learn more about snakes BE A SNAKE HERO! You can make a difference for snakes by joining Advocates for Snake Preservation today.