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Official python hunter program in Florida reaches 500 captures

The Florida Wildlife and Fish Conservation Commission (FWC) announced Friday that hunters participating in one of its programs have managed to phase out 500 Burmese python snakes, an invasive species that damages the ecosystem to date. of the Everglades wetland.

Python number 500 was captured by Beth Koehler and Peggy van Gorder on June 25 in the area of ​​the Francis S. Taylor administrative center in the Everglades.

It was a female 9 feet 10 inches long and 20 pounds and 14 ounces in weight, FWC said in a statement.

FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton noted that this is a milestone in the program and thanked the Florida authorities for their support for the efforts to end the invasion of the Burmese pythons, one of the invasive species that causes the most damage. in the ecosystems of the state.

The Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, thanked the hunters and hunters who participate in this program of the Commission and undertook to give priority to the protection of the environment, wildlife and natural resources, which, he said, ” they are at the center of our economy and lifestyle. “

Members of the Python Action Team receive a payment to monitor python populations in the Everglades and capture them in certain areas of state land.

The pythons have caused that in some areas of the Everglades the population of field mice, weasels, raccoons or rabbits has dropped to 99% and it is feared that it will end up with a good part of the wild fauna of an ecosystem in which millions of dollars are invested. of dollars to maintain it and protect it.

It is believed that the Burmese python predators, 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.

It is estimated that there could be more than 150,000 pythons in this huge wetland located in South Florida, the largest natural reserve in Florida.

There are other python elimination programs, such as one from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), which eliminated a total of 2,000 Burmese pythons from 2017 to last February.

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