A total of 1,008 Burmese pythons, one of the largest snakes in the world and that is invading the Everglades wetland (South Florida), have been eliminated since March 2017 through an official program, authorities said today.
Since that date, more than a thousand pythons have been eradicated to “protect innumerable native species from the threat of being devoured by a non-native, invasive predatory species,” the governing board of the Water Management District said in a statement. of South Florida (SFWMD).
The SFWMD said that the python hunting and elimination program promoted by this agency has been a “success” in the state thanks to the numerous hunters who signed up.
“Organizational staff, hunter participation and leadership” from experts and senior officials have made it possible for this program that “strives to preserve the Everglades every day” to be a success, said Mike Kirkland of the Python Elimination Program. .
Brinan Hargrove, one of the hunters participating in this program, has become the most effective in eliminating more than 110 Pythons from the Everglades and capturing an 11.2-foot (3.4-meter) specimen last weekend.
Congressman Fracis Rooney, from the city of Naples, congratulated the SFWMD and the numerous hunters who participated in the program that has allowed the elimination of more than a thousand pythons so far.
The Burmese python, a giant constrictor snake native to Asia, is an invasive species that has a negative impact on the wild areas of southern Florida, especially in the Everglades, where it is estimated that there could be more than 150,000 specimens.
In Florida, the possession and sale of this type of reptile as a pet is prohibited and the importation is not permitted throughout the country.
Pythons have caused populations of mammals such as field mice, weasels, raccoons or rabbits to drop by up to 99% in some areas of the Everglades, and it is feared that they will kill off a good part of the wildlife in an ecosystem where they invest millions of dollars to maintain and protect it.
It is believed that the Burmese pythons, which breed very quickly, reached the Everglades when they were deliberately released by people who had them as pets or involuntarily after the passage of Hurricane “Andrew” in 1992.
On the other hand, the Commission for the Conservation of Fisheries and Wildlife (FWC) this week opened the program for the eradication of lionfish, a non-native species that has also become a serious threat to the Florida ecosystem.
The program and contest Liofish Challenge began on May 19 and will last until September 3.
Last year, more than 5,000 specimens of lionfish were eliminated in Florida waters thanks to this tournament, which offers the incentive of prizes such as T-shirts, cups, harpoons and other items for those who participate.
The lionfish reaches about 20 centimeters in length and has as a natural habitat the reefs, where it takes refuge during the day and hunts shrimp and crabs during the night.
The FWC points out on its website that this species of “poisonous and painful sting has a very negative impact on the life and habitat of native species,” which is why “reducing the negative impacts of this fish in the area of reefs “of the floridana coast. rgr