Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fashion Trade in Python Skins. Jimmy Choo. SE Asia Python Trade.Trade Centre Report.Python Pets.

    Burmese Pythons Mating in the Wild.  National Geographic Archive.

Tap python into your browser and the first things that come up are advertisements for designer handbags, belts, shoes and even pencil cases. A programming language called Python and Monty Python also pop up.
Python Skins drying in Mandalay
Jimmy Choo Rosalie Python Handbag £2195 
Pythons are in the news thanks to a UN linked International Trade Centre report on The Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins reviewing trade flows, the value chain, sustainability, illegality and animal welfare of the trade in South-East Asian python skins. The report makes important points and recommendations:

 Although there is a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), trade is poorly regulated.

  •  It is often illegal. Pythons bred in captivity can to be sold but many come from the wild. Snakeskin can be smuggled, or false declarations made on CITES permits.
  • Demand for python skins is such that the survival of the species is threatened because many wild pythons are killed before they are old enough to reproduce. As pythons can lay up to 100 eggs this is significant.
  • Cruel methods are used to kill pythons, such as knocking them on the head or decapitating them. In Vietnam, Buddhists use a humane method, according to their belief, by inflating them with air compressors so that they die by suffocation.
  • Python habitats are diminishing.
  • Pythons are most in demand for their skins, (96%), as pets and for their flesh. (a  Chinese delicacy).
  • Trade is worth £625 million a year from SE Asia alone.

Among the report’s recommendations to governments and the fashion industry are:

  • Legally binding minimum skin size limits to ensure protection of immature snakes.
  • A "traceability system" to ascertain that the snakeskin product is from a legitimate source.   
  • Legally binding minimum skin size limits to ensure protection of immature snakes."
Mungurru Amethyst Python and Blackbird, by Tulo
 in Milbi, Aboriginal Tales from Queensland's Endeavour River.

Pythons are among the largest snakes in the world. There are about thirty species  in S. Asia, Africa, and Australia. They live on the ground, among rocks, in trees, and they swim.
Python in the Sea
Some live in populated areas – presumably because they have been released by pet owners, where they catch domestic animals. Pythons catch prey with their long sharp teeth, then coil round them, constrict, suffocate and swallow them whole. They can do the latter because their beautiful skin is elastic and their jaws and ribs expand. In the wild they eat deer, birds and other mammals.
16 foot Dead Python and Swallowed Deer in Florida
Pythons rarely attack human beings, and they are non-venomous so they are popular pets and can live for up to 20 years. If they grow too big - they can reach as much as 20 feet long - owners are prone to release them into the wild.  In Florida Everglades National Park, last February, a Burmese python was shot dead - by no means is this an unusual occurrence -on the grounds that a python is a non-native species that devastates natural wildlife.

Only last week on BBC news it was reported that an elderly couple in Paisley found a python coiled around their lavatory seat.