After the lack of success at a recent expedition to herd the rampant iguana, monitor lizard and python populations of Red Bug Slough, Meg Lowman, director of environmental initiatives at New College, has been unexpectedly replaced.
Sarasota County Commissioners are alarmed over the recent disappearances of several visitors to the natural area just off Beneva Road. "We weren't too concerned when the occasional dog or cat went missing, but we need every single one of our snowbirds and our tourists in this economy," declared one commissioner.
The county Sheriff's Office acknowledged the problem, but said it did not have the expertise needed to fight this menace. Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities declined to get involved, stating that they have their hands full with the illegal poaching of crappies from Lake Manatee and prefer to concentrate their efforts there. Said one official, "Besides, did you ever see the size of some of those big-ass snakes?"
Meanwhile, the neighborhoods around the slough are on heightened alert. Children are being kept home from school, the streets are deserted and armed citizens patrol, ever vigilant for the voracious reptiles looking to wreak mayhem on their communities. Unconfirmed reports indicate that women and small children have been dragged from their very homes by 6-ft. long iguanas, that were then eaten by 12-ft. long monitor lizards, which were then devoured by 24-ft. long Burmese pythons.
The day-long sweep of Red Bug Slough netted the searchers but one 4-ft. black snake. The New College team, frustrated by their lack of results, vented their fury on the snake by attacking it with shovels, rakes and pitchforks. The snake escaped.
In announcing the firing of Meg Lowman, a Sarasota County official said, "While we appreciate the efforts of Ms. Lowman, it was quite apparent that she was not the right person for the job. Perhaps if our problem was with butterflies....."
"What we need is someone who has the skill, the experience, the gritty temperament and the tools to rid our county of these loathsome invaders."