Governor Ron DeSantis Highlights the Start of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted the start of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®, which will run for 10 days. Beginning today at 12:01 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. on August 13, this year’s Challenge boasts more than 840 participants registered (and counting) from across Florida, the U.S., and the world. The person who removes the most pythons as part of the competition will be awarded the Ultimate Grand Prize of $10,000 followed by the second-place prize of $7,500. Additional prizes will be given for the most pythons removed in individual categories.

 

“Florida has made record investments in protecting the Everglades for generations to come, including the targeted removal of the invasive Burmese Python,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I wish all participants a memorable and safe hunt, and I look forward to seeing this year’s results.”

 

“The Florida Python Challenge® provides a unique opportunity for people to become directly involved in Everglades conservation through invasive species removal,” said Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Executive Director Roger Young. “Thanks to the support from Governor Ron DeSantis and our partnerships with the South Florida Water Management District and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, we are able to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s ecology.”

 

“Under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership, the state has taken unprecedented action to protect the Everglades and eliminate invasive Burmese pythons from across the landscape. Every python that is removed is making a difference to protect the Everglades and South Florida’s diverse and native wildlife,” said South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron. “The partnership between the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish & 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 the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®.”

 

Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, FWC, SFWMD, and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida host the Florida Python Challenge® to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s ecology. The annual competition encourages people to get directly involved in Everglades conservation through invasive species removal.

 

Participants in military, professional, and novice categories can win cash prizes of up to $2,500 for removing the most pythons. There will be additional awards for runners up and for the longest pythons removed in all three categories.

 

People interested in competing can still register through the final day of the competition, August 13, by clicking here. There is a $25 registration fee and participants must complete a free online training to compete.

 

Visit FLPythonChallenge.org to register for the competition, take the online training, 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®.

 

About invasive Burmese pythons

 

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and negatively impact native species. They are 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. More than 18,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida since 2000. For more information on Burmese pythons, click here.

 

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Originally published at https://www.flgov.com/2023/08/04/governor-ron-desantis-highlights-the-start-of-the-2023-florida-python-challenge/

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