TV crews pet and take photos as Capt. Jeff Fobb from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Venom Response Unit, holds a python during the kick-off ceremonies for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's month-long "Python Challenge" in Davie, Fla. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The 13-foot reptile was captured in a backyard swimming pool in 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Associated Press Release
MIAMI (AP) -- Florida won't be repeating a public hunt for Burmese pythons in the Everglades.
The state-sponsored Python Challenge attracted roughly 1,600 hunters in January and February and made headlines worldwide. It netted 68 of the invasive snakes, the longest measuring more than 14 feet.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman said Monday that the hunt met the agency's primary goal of raising awareness about the python problem, and there will not be another hunt next year.
Instead, the state is beefing up established programs that train licensed hunters and people who regularly work in areas known to contain pythons to kill or report exotic snakes.
It's unknown how many pythons live in Florida's Everglades. Researchers say the large snakes are eating native wildlife at an alarming rate.