FWC making it easier, more rewarding to remove pythons
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is launching new programs. They are focused on encouraging people to help remove nonnative Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem and surrounding area. Two new programs and a new Executive Order will provide people with incentives. Expanded opportunities will assist to remove these invasive constrictors.
The Python Pickup Program
The Python Pickup Program is a new program designed to encourage the public to remove and report wild Burmese pythons by rewarding participants with valuable prizes. Anyone can participate in this innovative new program. People who remove pythons simply need to submit photographic evidence of the snake as well as the location from which it was removed. Anyone who submits this information will receive a free Python Pickup T-shirt for submitting their first entry. For every submission received, participants will be entered into a monthly prize drawing as well as a grand prize drawing to be held next year. Monthly prizes include snake hooks, custom engraved Yeti tumblers, Plano sportsman’s trunks, GoPro cameras and Badlands backpacks. The grand prize is a Florida Lifetime Sportsman’s License. The first drawing will take place in May 2017.
People can submit pythons removed from any property in Florida where they have authorization to do so from the property owner or land manager.
A recent Executive Order allows people to remove pythons year-round from 22 public lands with no hunting license or wildlife management area permit required.
“We know many Florida residents and visitors want to help tackle this tough conservation challenge by going after pythons in the wild and removing any they can find,” said FWC Executive Director, Nick Wiley. “We want to continue to encourage and support this important citizen conservation effort.
Python Contractor Program
Earlier this month, the FWC also launched a Python Contractor Program which pays participants for efforts to remove Burmese pythons from the wild. The FWC selected 22 contractors already experienced with capturing wild Burmese pythons. Contractors are paid an hourly wage for their efforts to remove Burmese pythons. The FWC will also pay contractors for each snake removed. The program is similar to one recently implemented by the South Florida Water Management District.
People interested in training on how to identify and safely remove pythons can take part in a Python Patrol Training. For more information, go to MyFWC.com/Python and click on “Python Patrol.”
People can also help with efforts to manage Burmese pythons and other nonnative species by reporting sightings. The FWC’s Exotic Species Reporting Hotline : 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681), online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the free “IveGot1” smartphone app.
For more information on Burmese pythons in Florida and the various management programs, visit MyFWC.com/Python