By Dave Warren

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Tuesday showcased its newest method to find and eradicate invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

Strong words from FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto Tuesday as he addressed a crowd gathered in the Everglades in Homestead.

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“If we refund the Everglades with no native wildlife, it would be a crime,” he said. “We must eradicate the Burmese python, and this is the latest tool.”

It was then up to “Truman,” a black Labrador Retriever, to give an example of what that latest tool is.

Up until now, the pythons have been hunted visually. But these dogs bring something new.

“They bring a different approach by not visually searching but using smell,” said McKayla Spencer, who is with FWC.

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Pepe Peruyero is the CEO of J & K Canines. He trained the dogs, which was a three-month process. During that time, he worked with the dogs to detect the pythons and only the pythons.

“We specifically train the dogs to ID the pythons a bypass native snakes,” he said.

Removing the invasive species while leaving the native animals is what was demonstrated at the training scenario.

The dogs would cue in on a bagged live python and then alert the handler, waiting patiently for a reward.

That reward is nothing more than a ball, but it positively reinforces the good behavior.

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“Removing pythons from the Everglades as a team effort,” said Ron Reinart, the regional director of FWC. Now the commission can welcome these two to the team with more to come.

Dave Warren