A plan by the state to make a Quabbin Reservoir island home to an endangered venomous snake has the backing of Gov. Charlie Baker.
The Republican governor said Monday he supports the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s plan to use the unpopulated island as a colony to help rebuild the timber rattlesnake species, which is indigenous to Massachusetts.
The so-called rattlesnake island idea has drawn criticism from some western Massachusetts residents who worry the venomous snakes could swim to the mainland and attack fishermen, hikers or other local residents.
Baker played down safety concerns, citing wildlife experts who believe the snakes would have little chance for survival if they did escape.
The timber rattlesnake has become imperiled by factors including loss of habitat and illegal snake hunting.
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