Annual Burmese python hunting competition kicks off in Florida

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The 10-day competition rewards both the hunter who catches the most pythons and the one who catches the longest snake.

File photo: A Burmese python is held during a safe trap show.  (AP/Lynne Sladky)
File photo: A Burmese python is held during a safe trap show. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

The annual Florida Python Challenge, which aims to help Battle against Burmese pythons invading the Everglades A giant protected wetland in South Florida it started with friday More than 800 participants from various regions of the USA and Canada.

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Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis, was the one who officially announced the inauguration. A 10-day contest with a cash prize to the hunter who catches the most pythons ($2,500). like the one who catches the longest snake (1,500) in the professional and beginner categories.

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“Each eliminated python is missing one. an invasive species that feeds on our native birds, mammals and reptiles. Our family will continue to support conservation efforts in the Everglades,” said the wife of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently running for reelection.

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The initiative for this contest came from DeSantis, who took office in 2019 with the support of then-President Donald Trump, but is an offensive against an invasive species. It wiped out populations of mammals and other native animals in the Everglades.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the press during an event to register the 2022 contest (AP)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the press during an event to register the 2022 contest (AP)

More than 16,000 Burmese pythons have been caught since 2000. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), which is part of the Florida Phyton Challenge organization.

Contestants who had to register before the end of June this year and pay $25 per entry received a prize. 30 minute online course on Python and Everglades hunting.

Rules that hunters must follow include respecting the biodiversity of the Everglades and eliminate snakes in a “humane” way and only in areas of the Everglades cleared for hunting.

“Large amounts of money are spent Restore the Everglades “We must make sure that these non-native species will be eliminated once restoration is complete, at the start of the Florida Phyton Challenge,” said FWC President Rodney Barreto.

Pythons are destroying the natural food chain, Ron Bergeron, member of the South Florida District Water Resources Board, is also part of the organization of the competition.

“Removing invasive pythons from the Everglades ecosystem is one of our agency’s top goals,” said Shawn Hamilton, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

A Burmese python in the Everglades (EFE/ Carollyn Parrish)
A Burmese python in the Everglades (EFE/ Carollyn Parrish)

Last year, Charlie Dachton and his son, Chance, managed the Florida Python Challenge Grand Prix, with 41 Burmese pythons captured in ten days, with nearly 600 participants. The tallest python award went to Brandon Call, who caught a five-metre python. In total, the contestants caught 223 snakes and destroyed several nests with eggs.

Pythons have reduced the population of mammals such as voles, weasels, raccoons or rabbits by up to 99% in parts of the Everglades. and it is feared that they will result in a good portion of the wild fauna of an ecosystem where millions of dollars have been invested in protecting and preserving it.

No one knows exactly why these Asian reptiles ended up in Florida’s largest nature preserve. to which the entire water system of the region is connected. One theory is that they came to the Everglades either intentionally or unintentionally released after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 by people who kept them as pets.

(with information from EFE)

Source: Info Bae

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