HOPKINS, SC (WIS) - Rangers at Congaree National Park are looking into a report that someone released a boa constrictor in the park, but said Tuesday that they've yet to confirm its existence at the park.
The National Park released the information on its Facebook page Monday. The post says rangers received reports of a visitor releasing a boa constrictor in the park Sunday night:
This visitor was under the impression that we already had them here and established, and it would be okay to release it into the wild. It is NEVER appropriate or legal to release native or exotic species within Congaree National Park. Even native species that have been rehabilitated may have picked up diseases while in recovery that can decimate populations within a range, as well as doing great harm to other animals populations as well. Please help us to keep our park as natural as possible and DO NOT release animals within the park. If you are walking on park trails and see a boa constrictor, please report the location to park staff IMMEDIATELY. The reported release location was along the Boardwalk near stop #3.
On Tuesday, the park made another post on their Facebook page, saying:
Here is a follow-up to our previous post concerning the possible release of a boa constrictor into Congaree National Park. Contrary to what some news outlets have been reporting, we would like to emphasize that the release of a boa constrictor into the park has yet to be confirmed by park staff. Park law enforcement rangers are continuing their investigation into this situation.
As stated in our earlier social media post, park staff were first alerted to this possible situation by a visitor who reported that they encountered someone who was planning on releasing a boa constrictor along the Boardwalk. Once again, this report has not been confirmed by park staff. We will provide further information as it becomes available.
Boa constrictors are native to Central and South America. They typically squeeze and suffocate small prey before eating.
Rangers said last week that the synchronized fireflies season has started at the park and the best viewing is just after dusk.
If you have any information, contact the park office at (803) 776-4396.