PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – A bounty program meant to eradicate the growing python problem in the Everglades is working better than expected.
In the first 10 days of the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program, hunters have removed 10 Burmese pythons with a combined length of nearly 100 feet.
“For these hunters to have already eliminated 10 snakes is tremendous, given the fact that simply locating the elusive python is literally like finding a moving, camouflaged needle in a haystack,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “It’s great to see that this Governing Board’s action to challenge this invasive and destructive predator has yielded early results.”
The hunters are earning minimum wage plus a bounty for every python they capture. The bigger the snake, the bigger the check!
In the example below, an 8-foot python would pay out $150.
Hunter Patrick Campbell has captured the biggest snake to date with a 15-foot and 10-inch python killed on April 2. This 135-pound kill netted the hunter $350.
Hunters Nicholas Baños and Leonardo Sanchez found the second largest snake to date on April 1 at 15 feet 2 inches. This python netted the hunters $325.
Barry Oppenburger has been the most successful hunter so far, killing three snakes in the first week. He caught a 13-foot python, an 8-foot-2-inch python and a 6-foot-8-inch python for a total bounty of $550.
In total, SFWMD has paid nearly $2,000 in cash to the bounty hunters.
The 25 participants began hunting after the program orientation on March 25 and will continue hunting until June.