Special Everglades python-hunting season created
"We are once again engaging our stakeholders, in this case, the hunting community, to help us reduce the number of reptiles of concern in the Everglades," said FWC chairman Rodney Barreto. "Our hunters are on the front lines, and we hope, by tapping into their knowledge of the Everglades, we can make significant progress in this effort."
Hunters must possess a valid hunting license and pay a $26 management area permit fee to hunt the regions for pythons, green anaconda and Nile monitor lizards, all invasive species that are threatening native wildlife. The reptiles may not be removed from the wildlife management areas alive.
Florida is facing a troubling situation, believed to have been caused by snake owners who released pythons when they became too large to manage. The snakes, which are reproducing in the wild, have become a threat to native wildlife.
The National Park Service reported the removal of 311 Burmese pythons from the Everglades in 2008. The constrictors can measure 26 feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds. The largest captured in the Everglades was 16 feet and 150 pounds.
Wildlife officials say they could number in the tens of thousands in the South Florida region -- mostly in the Everglades.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: A 12-foot Burmese python that was captured in the backyard of a home in Florida. Credit: Robert Sullivan AFP/Getty Images
To follow this blog on Twitter, please visit @latimesoutposts.