If I told you it was an article about reptiles in the Florida Everglades, I'll give you three guesses as to what the article is about. Due to grossly over-inflated media attention, you probably guessed it's an article on invasive Burmese pythons.
From what I've gathered by reading the article, U.S. government agencies are estimating the number of burmese pythons in the Florida everglades to be between ~1,000 and ~200,000 (two degrees of magnitude apart!).
What I hope to draw to your attention in this post is not that burmese pythons are good or bad in the Florida everglades, but that governmental biologists need some fact checkers before pulling on the "statistic crank."
Given the amount of media attention and governmental recognition the issue has received, an accurate (and hopefully conservative) estimate of the number of Burmese pythons and their ability to reproduce is necessary to maintain a non-nuisance level of this species.
A final word: always ensure you can be a responsible, long-term exotic pet owner before making a purchase or taking your neighbor's pet alligator off their hands. It's good for the environment!