Natusch, Daniel James Deans, and Natusch, David Francis Stewart (2011). Distribution, abundance and demography of green pythons (Morelia viridis) in Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 59, 145–155.
The green python (Morelia viridis) is an iconic snake species highly sought after in the pet trade and is the target of illegal collection. Despite their popularity, some important ecological attributes of green pythons remain unknown, making their effective conservation management difficult. Detection-only surveys were conducted throughout the potential range of the green python in Australia, and intensive mark–recapture surveys were conducted in the areas where there have been previous records. In total, 298 green pythons were located in the Iron, McIlwraith and Kawadji–Ngaachi ranges of Cape York, distributed over an estimated area of 2289 km2, where they frequented rainforest habitats and adjacent vine thickets. They were not found in the Lockerbie Scrub or Jardine River Catchment, despite anecdotal records. Green python density was estimated to be 540 km–2 in the Iron Range and 200 km–2 in the McIlwraith Range, where the percentages of adults captured were 56% and 83%, respectively. The differences between abundance and population demographics in the Iron and McIlwraith ranges may be due to differences in prey abundance and the impacts of collection. The results of this study provide baseline data to conservation managers and policy makers for the future conservation management of this species in Australia.
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