Officials: 5,000 Burmese Pythons Removed from Everglades

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District have removed 5,000 invasive Burmese pythons from South Florida’s Everglades ecosystem.

Officials: 5,000 Burmese Pythons Removed from Everglades

It's hard to imagine 5,000 snakes being removed as part of an eradication program, but that's what has happened in south Florida.

The thing is, though, there are many more. The Everglades is massive. Hunting, targeted removal, trapping and tagging release projects to find others ... those all are helpful. But the monstrous, wild Everglades doesn't easily give up its wildlife or secrets. When you think you're a step ahead, you might be stuck in the mud. Such  is the frustration but wild, untamed beauty of the area.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District recently announced it has moved 5,000 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem. The snakes gained a foothold due to escapes or pets being released. One story, possibly apocryphal, is many were thrust into the ecosystem when Hurricane Andrew ravaged Homestead in 1992 and swept over the sprawling river of grass.

Whatever the case, pythons are there. Other invasive species, too, but the pythons have wreaked havoc on small game and other wildlife. They can grow to 17 feet or more and weigh hundreds of pounds. They're smart. Google "Florida python trappers" and watch these guys wrestle a coiling mass of ticked-off python.

No thanks. I'd rather shoot them in the head with a 12-gauge and be done. But however the method of removing them, 5,000 is a good start. And more need to be taken out of the ecosystem.

“We’ve learned through the Python Challenge that experience counts when finding and removing Burmese pythons,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said in a press release. “We can’t win the battle alone. It’s one team, one mission. We need the support of these experienced python hunters as well as the partnership with the South Florida Water Management District and the ongoing support of Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

Florida officials set up a hotline and website for sightings of pythons or other alien species: Exotic Species Hotline, 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681), or online at IveGot1.org. There also is a free smartphone app, IVEGOT1. Officials ask that if possible, take a picture and note the exact location of the sighting. The state's Python Action Team and Python Elimination Program members respond to reports of large constrictors and other priority species to remove these harmful invaders from the wild.

“Another win for the Everglades. This is what agencies like the South Florida Water Management District and the FWC, focused and working together, can accomplish,” said SFWMD Governing Board Member Ron Bergeron. “Every snake counts. Each invasive python eliminated represents hundreds of native Florida wildlife saved. With Gov. DeSantis’ continued leadership, Florida is doing more than it ever has to remove pythons from the Everglades and protect this ecosystem for generations to come.”


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