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Apr 20, 2017 7:56 AM

Plan to populate New England island with rattlesnakes nixed

The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts is dropping its plan to establish a colony of venomous timber rattlesnakes on an uninhabited island.

The state Fisheries and Wildlife board voted unanimously on Wednesday to suspend the plan indefinitely after residents in the region raised safety concerns.

State officials previously planned to bring some of the endangered snakes to an off-limits island in the Quabbin Reservoir to revive the species. Officials say there are only about 200 of the snakes left in Massachusetts.

The plan faced backlash from critics who worried the snakes would leave the island and attack hikers, fishermen and hunters.

Wildlife officials said the fears were unfounded, but after a series of public hearings the board halted the plan. Instead, the group says it will seek a statewide plan to conserve the species.

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