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Gov. Ron DeSantis opens 2022 Python Challenge in South Florida

FILE PHOTO: Burmese python in Florida.
FILE PHOTO: Burmese python in Florida.
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 12:54 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSMiami) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference in South Florida on Thursday morning to talk about this year’s Python Challenge, which begins Aug. 5 and turns through Aug. 14 at 5 p.m.

DeSantis was in SW Miami-Dade, where he spoke about the invasive Burmese pythons and announced that registration to participate in this year’s challenge is now open.

He said he has put resources in the budget for python removal. He mentioned there was $3 million just for python removal.

In the past, hundreds have participated in the annual challenge.

DeSantis said people can win prizes and that cash awards would be given for the longest python and most pythons caught. Prizes include $2,500 for the most pythons caught and $1,500 for the longest snake.

He said the competition helps educate the public about the invasive species. He also said that 600 people from 25 states participated in last year’s competition.

“These pythons are a threat to the Everglades,” he said. “Since I took office, we have removed 8,000 pythons.”

The chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also spoke at the event.

“The Florida Everglades is an iconic habitat in Florida and removing Burmese pythons from this ecosystem is critical to the survival of the species that live in this vast wild area,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, the FWC and our dedicated partners continue to have great success conserving our native wildlife and managing this invasive predator.”

Participants must register and complete an online training course. The snakes have virtually no natural enemies in the Everglades and have decimated native populations of mammals, birds and other reptiles.

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