Jan 15, 2013 11:05 AM by Victor L. Villa

Trash overwhelms tortoises, snakes in Saguaro National Park

TUCSON - A new study has found that the windblown trash of our desert outnumbers the population of diamond-back rattle snakes and desert tortoises.

Biologist Erin Zylstra, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, mapped and added the amount of wind dispersed plastic trash bags and latex balloons in to areas of the Saguaro National Park. To her surprise, Ms. Zylstra found that this trash outnumbered the amount of tortoises and rattlesnakes in the area.

"Western diamondback rattlesnakes are pretty common in the areas we studied. The fact that there is considerably more balloons than snakes was kind of shocking," Zylstra said.

According to a news article, these bags and balloons give way to possible threats to wildlife safety. Because of the way plastic trash bags decompose, a concern is that the decomposed bags may wind-up in the few watering holes available to desert wildlife.

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