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Python Milestone: 500th Snake Killed in SFWMD Program

August 17, 2017 - 4:30pm

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board's innovative Python Elimination Program hit a major milestone Thursday when hunters bagged their 500th Burmese python in less than five months.

Python Hunter Jason Leon, of Miami, killed the 500th snake, a 7-foot python caught around 5 a.m. Thursday. Earlier in August, Leon also caught one of the largest snakes the program recorded, a creature measuring 14-foot-9. Hunter Dustin "Wildman" Crum holds the record for the largest snake killed with a 16-foot-10 python. Hunter Michael Valcarce has the most pythons killed, with 52 snakes.

"The speed with which hunters are finding and eliminating these destructive snakes showcases not only their dedication to the effort, but also the enormity of this invasive predator problem in the Everglades," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "Every one of these 500 snakes killed helps ensure the lives of hundreds of native species essential to the Everglades ecosystem."
In total, the snakes eliminated through the program would stretch more than 3,300 feet in length and weigh more than three tons. Elected officials and celebrities ranging from U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey have taken part in the hunts, bringing international awareness to the issue of invasive pythons and the District's efforts to eradicate them.

About the Program

The program began March 25, 2017 when professional python hunters were selected and given access to District-owned lands in Miami-Dade County for the pilot phase and later in Broward and Collier counties as the program expanded. 

These independent contractors are paid $8.10 per hour, up to eight hours daily, to hunt in the Everglades. Depending on the size of the snake presented, they can also receive additional payments of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet and an extra $25 for each foot measured above 4 feet. An additional $200 is given for each eliminated python nest with eggs. 

The invasive Burmese python, which breeds and multiplies quickly and has no challenger or predator in the Everglades ecosystem, has decimated native populations of wildlife. Said the District in its press release, "the more of these snakes that can be eliminated, especially the females and their eggs, the better chance future generations of native wildlife can have to thrive in the Everglades ecosystem, which Floridians have invested billions of dollars to restore."


You think this is "NEWS", "SSN"? ? ?.....We're NOT "keeping score" out here in "Citizen Taxpayer Land".....WE just want the damn Burmese Pythons TOTALLY ERADICATED ! ! ! We're not interested in ongoing "organized media hunt events"..... How about it you ineffective political phonies in "Tallahassee snakeland"???....GET THE FREAKING JOB DONE before these damn snakes start swallowing small kids and people, like they do in their original foreign habitat in Southeast Asia ! ! ! You morons have no concept of "expeditiously"...

C Breeze on the money again, altho I admit I am partial to the idea presented by Anonymous. Certainly the snakes in DC are more dangerous than the snakes here. For the past five years I have been saying....put a damn bounty on them. They HAVE to open the park to killing snakes. Catch them killing anything else, death by firing squad. That is how we ought to kill bad people anyway. We are "killing" them aren't we? Have 5 guys shoot them in the chest from 50 feet and they will be DEAD. And not flop around for 20 minutes which I could care less about but the lefties seem to get their panties all in a wad over. Generally speaking, to get death, you have to do something pretty bad. How about the people they did it to? It would be a lot cheaper than now. Save buck here and there when you can is my advice. Taxes go up every year. If the pondscum suckers put a REAL bounty on the snakes they would be gone quick enough. $500 per snake for every one under 8 feet. $1,000 for every one over 8 feet. Hire 100 people. At the end of the season the top 50 move on and get more money. The bottom 50 out of it and we take the next 50 on the waiting list. Trust me, there would be a waiting list. You know, like the Fed Ex cup. Anybody anywhere can kill one and get the appropriate bounty, only the selected 100 in the swamp and park. We are good at killing most anything we want dead. Money a powerful motivator. The clowns getting their pictures taken could not start an outboard motor. And if they did and managed to get into the swamp they could not find their way back without their aide and latte. That we pay for. Altho the idea of having a bunch of pondscum suckers alone in the Glades appeals to me.

Gee... I wonder how the Chair borne Rangers are doing ? Sniping at doers from a keyboard must be exhausting.

Great, but still insignificant. Need to develop and use effective traps and attractive shelter (pipes, solar heat pads, etc) to remove thousands per month instead of a measly 100. (Rabbit dung and robotic decoys could be effective attractants.) What's being done is for show, not effectiveness.

Once these snakes finish killing and consuming all of the "natural inhabitant species" (and the won't be too long now), we can poison the whole damn swamp before they begin hunting in surrounding neighborhood areas. (If poison works, we might even consider the method in "other swamps" ( ;-{>

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