Wildlife Department Holds Competition To Eradicate Invasive Snakes
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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Anyone would enjoy an extra $1,500 slithering into their bank accounts, but would you go to the extreme by harvesting one of the world’s largest snakes to receive it?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced its 2013 Python Challenge Wednesday, which aims to raise awareness of the invasive Burmese Python.
The huge snakes made their way to the Everglades and reproduced, multiplying their population and threatening other species.
Averaging up to 12 feet in length, the large constrictors will devour any animal that dares to cross its path; they have even been known to swallow animals such as large deer and alligators.
The FWC hopes the month-long competition will help the public understand why non-native species — like Burmese Pythons — should never be released into the wild.
Slideshow: S. Fla. Wild Python Encounters
These harvest games are not all about fun, though.
Through the games, the FWC will use the harvesting of Burmese Pythons to further its research and enhance its management efforts.
The challenge isn’t limited to Florida’s python permit holders: Kristen Sommers, who heads FWC’s Exotic Species Coordination Section, encourages the public to get involved by helping to remove Burmese Pythons from South Florida’s public lands.
Day one of the month-long challenge gets underway January 12th, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center.
The invasive species open house will also be held at the center that day.
The grand prize will be awarded to both those who harvest the most pythons in the General Competition and those who snag the most snakes in the Python Permit Holders Competition.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, perhaps you dare to harvest the longest Burmese Python; doing so will win you an extra $1,000.
Information on how to register and train for the 2013 Python Challenge can be found at PythonChallenge.org.