More invasive Burmese Pythons removed
Around 950 hunters took part in this year's Florida Python Challenge which ran from August 5 through August 14.
The annual event is being proclaimed "a huge win" for the Everglades ecosystem and those who took part, winning cash prizes for the biggest snakes caught, and for the most snakes trapped and euthanized by a single hunter.
The results are being counted now, and the biggest snakes being measured to determine who trapped the biggest one. With each snake being removed from the Everglades ecosystem, there's less chance for future generations of Florida's native wildlife to be maimed or killed by this invasive species.
The event was launched in June by Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis.
Cash prizes for protecting the environment.
In 2021, 223 of the snakes were trapped and humanely killed by entrants to the Python Challenge. In last year's event, 600 people from 25 states took part meaning that the 950+ entrants in this challenge make it the most successful event yet.
Could it be that there are more who are interested protecting the Everglades and Florida's wildlife? Another explanation could be that with more people struggling to make financial ends meet as inflation runs rampant, the prospect of cash prizes of up to $2,500 is more appealing than ever.
Since the start of the Python Challenge in 2000, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem. The total of snakes killed this year has yet to be tallied.
Who caught the biggest?
While judges are still assessing the snakes killed, it seems likely that none will top the specimen trapped by a student from Rollins College in Winter Park. Just before the Python Challenge began, they caught what is believed to be a near all-time record biggest python - it measured more than 17-feet long and was crossing the road when the student caught and killed it.
An even bigger specimen - measuring over 18 feet long - was caught in June of this year.
Unfortunately neither will qualify for inclusion in this year's challenge as they were caught before the competition was formally kicked-off by Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis.
Do you think that enough is being done to protect Florida's wildlife and the Everglades ecosystem? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.