The Florida Everglades, a natural wonderland filled with abundant wildlife, is being taken over by an invasive species: Burmese pythons.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners launched the 2013 Python Challenge to enlist both the general public and python permit holders in a month-long harvest of Burmese pythons.
Fifty harvested Burmese pythons were received by the University of Florida as of Friday, February 8. The pythons are being processed and logged by UF for the 2013 Python Challenge. Final results of the 2013 Python Challenge™ will be announced on Saturday, February 16.
The 2013 Python Challenge Awareness and Awards Event will be on Saturday, February 16, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Zoo Miami. The Florida Wildlife Commission will announce who caught the most and the longest Burmese pythons at the 10:30 a.m. awards ceremony. Exhibits and activities highlighting Everglades conservation and invasive species will be on-going through 4 p.m.
The final day to harvest Burmese pythons for the 2013 Python Challenge was Sunday, February 10.
Increasing public awareness about Burmese pythons and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife, was the goal of the 2013 Python Challenge. Despite the seemingly low number of snakes caught, officials see the event as a success, mainly because it helped spread awareness of the growing problem.