TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announces that registration for the 2023 Florida Python Challenge® is now open. Participants this year will have the chance to win a share of more than $30,000 in prizes while removing invasive Burmese pythons from the wild. Starting today, those interested in participating in the 2023 Florida Python Challenge® can complete the required online training to compete in the 10-day competition which runs August 4–13, 2023. The competition is open to both professional and novice participants.
“Since day one, we have prioritized Everglades restoration by investing record funding for conservation projects and increasing resources for the removal of invasive Burmese pythons that harm this treasured ecosystem,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Because of this focused commitment, my tenure in office has accounted for more than half of the 18,000 pythons removed from the Everglades since 2000. The Python Challenge allows folks to participate firsthand in Everglades restoration efforts, and I look forward to seeing this year’s results.”
“Since the first Florida Python Challenge® in 2013, we have reached a countless number of people across the globe, alerting them to the negative impacts caused by Burmese pythons and other invasive species in Florida,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Rodney Barreto. “Thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis and our partners with the South Florida Water Management District, we are once again hosting this event for the public to get involved in protecting our native wildlife while competing to win thousands of dollars for their efforts removing Burmese pythons from our iconic Florida Everglades ecosystem, a place like nowhere else on Earth.”
“There is nowhere in the world like America’s Everglades, and we need to continue to protect and restore this national treasure. Removing invasive pythons from across the Greater Everglades Ecosystem is absolutely critical, and we must do everything we can to combat this invasive species. I very much look forward to seeing the results of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®,” said South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron. “I am grateful for the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, who continually demonstrates his commitment to Everglades restoration and protecting Florida’s iconic natural resources. The incredible partnership between the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is extremely important as we work to protect our ecosystem, conserve native wildlife, and remove invasive pythons. I appreciate every python hunter who is participating in this year’s Python Challenge. Long live the Everglades!”
Click here to register for the competition, take the required online training, view the optional training opportunities, learn more about Burmese pythons and the unique Everglades ecosystem, and find resources for planning your trip to South Florida to participate in the Florida Python Challenge®.
Participants in the 2022 Florida Python Challenge® removed 231 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, an increase from the 2021 number and more than double those removed in 2020. Nearly 1,000 people from 32 states, Canada, and Latvia registered to take part in the 10-day competition in 2022.
In addition to python removal opportunities on 25 Commission-managed lands which are available year-round, pythons can be humanely killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission — no permit or hunting license required — and the FWC encourages people to remove and humanely kill pythons from private lands whenever possible.
About Invasive Burmese Pythons
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and they negatively impact native wildlife. This invasive species is found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida where they prey on birds, mammals, and other reptiles. A female Burmese python may lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Since 2000, more than 18,000 Burmese pythons have been reported to the FWC as removed from the environment. For more information on Burmese pythons, visit MyFWC.com/Python.
Originally published at https://www.flgov.com/2023/05/24/governor-ron-desantis-announces-2023-florida-python-challenge/