Where’s Samuel L. Jackson When You Need Him?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimro/2331196345/sizes/m/in/photostream/">nimro</a>/Flickr


Several weeks ago, the Obama administration announced that it has finalized a new regulation prohibiting the interstate transport of several varieties of giant snake, some of which can grow up to 18 feet long. Such massive snakes have wreaked havoc on sensitive ecosystems, as a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms.

The researchers, led by Davidson College biologist Michael E. Dorcas, report that surveys around Everglades National Park discovered a 99.3 percent decrease in the number of raccoons observed between 2003 and 2011. The number of opossums observed was down 98.9 percent, and the number of bobcats declined 87.5 percent. Where did these animals go? Into the bellies of giant, hungry pythons. The researchers conclude:

These findings suggest that predation by pythons has resulted in dramatic declines in mammals within ENP and that introduced apex predators, such as giant constrictors, can exert significant top-down pressure on prey populations. Severe declines in easily observed and/or common mammals, such as raccoons and bobcats, bode poorly for species of conservation concern, which often are more difficult to sample and occur at lower densities.

See the Washington Post, National Geographic, and NPR for more.

And while we’re on the subject, here’s a video of a python who tried to eat an alligator but exploded.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.