CC press release
June 17, 2022
MIAMI — Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that registration for the 2022 Florida Python Challenge® is open and the annual 10-day event will be held August 5-14, 2022. Members of the public can now complete the required online training and register to compete to win thousands of dollars in prizes while eliminating the wild’s invasive Burmese pythons. The competition is open to professional and novice participants.
“The Everglades are one of the world’s most valuable natural resources, and we have invested record funding in Everglades restoration projects, including record funding for the removal of invasive Burmese pythons that are ravaging the ecosystem” , Governor Ron DeSantis said. “Because of this concentration, we have removed a record number of invasive pythons from the Everglades. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and can’t wait to see the results of this year’s Python Challenge.
“The Florida Everglades are an iconic Florida habitat and eliminating Burmese pythons from this ecosystem is critical to the survival of the species that call this vast wilderness home,” said FWC President Rodney Barreto. “Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, the FWC and our dedicated partners continue to have great success in conserving our native wildlife and managing this invasive predator.”
“The Florida Python Challenge® offers people the opportunity to take an active part in Everglades conservation by eliminating the Burmese python, an invasive species that is actively damaging our native wildlife populations,” said Eric Sutton, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). . “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, who continually demonstrates his commitment to invasive species control, which is a critical part of conserving our native species.”
“As a native of South Florida, I am grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for his continued commitment to restoring the Everglades and protecting our natural resources,” said Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron. of the South Florida Water Management District. “The excellent partnership between the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is essential as we work together to protect the Greater Everglades ecosystem and combat invasive pythons. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, we now host the Python Challenge every year, and I appreciate the efforts of every python hunter who participates!
“In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the South Florida Water Management District removes approximately 60 percent more pythons each year under the direction of Governor DeSantis,” said the district’s executive director of South Florida Water Management, Drew Bartlett. “The Python Challenge is another way to directly involve people in protecting and stewarding the Everglades. We continue to accelerate efforts to restore the Everglades through the support of Governor DeSantis, and we will continue to do whatever we can to protect this important ecosystem.
Visit FLPythonChallenge.org to enter the contest, complete the online training, register for optional in-person trainings, learn more about Burmese pythons and the unique Everglades ecosystem, and find resources to plan your trip south from Florida to participate in the Florida Python Challenge®.
Participants in the 2021 Florida Python Challenge® removed 223 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, more than double the number removed in 2020. More than 600 people from 25 states have registered to participate in the 10-day competition in 2021.
The Governor’s recently signed Freedom First budget provides a record investment of up to $3 million for python elimination efforts, including supporting research and development of innovative technologies that detect and eradicate invasive pythons. This includes the development of near-infrared cameras that better detect pythons.
Since 2019, the state has taken unprecedented steps to eradicate pythons in Florida:
Governor DeSantis directed the FWC and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to authorize the removal of invasive Burmese pythons from all state parks. The agencies reached a deal that resulted in an additional 134,648 acres of land that is now accessible for python removal.
Governor DeSantis announced that the US Department of the Interior has accepted Florida’s request to increase access to federal lands for python removal, particularly in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
In addition to python removal efforts on public land, pythons can be humanely killed on private land at any time with the permission of the landowner – no license or hunting license required – and the FWC encourages people to remove and kill pythons from private lands whenever possible.
About Invasive Burmese Pythons
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and have a negative impact on native species. They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida, where they feed on birds, mammals, and other reptiles. A female Burmese python can lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Over 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed since 2000. For more information on Burmese pythons, visit MyFWC.com/Python.
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