Photo via Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The Everglades National Park is expanding its python removal program after Burmese pythons have tormented local wildlife for too long.
Park officials are teaming up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to expand python removal efforts by also asking local volunteers to lend a hand.
The invasive species management program hopes to triple the number of hunters from 40 t0 120, allow the use of firearms and euthanization methods to capture pythons, and qualify trained personnel to live-capture the pythons, according to the FWC.
“We appreciate the support and efforts of our partners, especially Everglades National Park and Superintendent Ramos. With the leadership and support of Gov. Scott and our commissioners, we have seen a significant increase in efforts and results to remove the Burmese pythons and other invasive species,” said FWC executive director Eric Sutton. “Our success moving forward relies on everyone pulling together collectively including agencies, nonprofits, private landowners and individual citizens.”
In addition to using volunteers to search for and remove pythons, the implementation of FWC contractors will enhance the number of skilled workers to increase the amount of captures.
Over the years pythons have decimated countless species in the area, including but not limited to marsh rabbits, bobcats and other small mammals.
from 2017 found that invasive pythons have obliterated mammals in the area so badly that mosquitos are now forced to feed on dead rats that carry dangerous viruses.
The park and FWC are working together to create terms and agreements to allow the start of the program in July of 2018.
Participants will be granted access to the majority of the park from all hours, but will be forbidden from hunting near visitors, centers and trails when the park is open.
Burmese pythons came to the area after being released as household pets, which is illegal and has a negative impact on wildlife and native species.
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