DeSantis takes on the snakes in the swamps
On June 3, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis took a break from his presidential campaign to launch the states annual 'Python Challenge' - an event that's intended to benefit Florida's natural ecosystem by offering cash prizes for those who trap and remove Burmese Pythons.
The invasive species of snake are harmful to Florida's ecosystem, and the annual challenge offers those who are willing to register and complete the requisite training, the chance to win prizes in the thousands of dollars, for catching and removing the snakes.
Around 950 hunters took part in the 2022 Florida Python Challenge which ran from August 5 through August 14.
The annual event has been 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.
A harmful prey
Burmese pythons aren't native to Florida but they breed prolifically and prey on many native species, hence the desire to reduce their numbers. In 2022, Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis took the lead, formally kicking off the Python Challenge on the Governor's behalf.
And now, as Ron DeSantis divides his time between the business of running Florida, and that of advancing his career aspirations and campaigning for the Republican Presidential nomination it seems likely that Casey DeSantis could be playing an even more active role in running the Sunshine State.
Since the start of the Python Challenge in 2000, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem. Just before the 2022 challenge began, a student from Rollins College in Winter Park 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.
Unfortunately though for the student who captured the reptile, it wasn't eligible for entry in the Python Challenge or a $2,500 prize.
Ron DeSantis focused on Florida or the White House?
Undoubtedly the business of governing Florida will need to be given the appropriate attention by Governor DeSantis while he campaigns for the White House, otherwise there's a real danger that he could lose the support of Republicans in Florida who voted to give him a second term on the governor's mansion.
As the Republican party candidates - including DeSantis - attend the GOP Roast and Ride event in Iowa this weekend, the governor will be seeking to making an impression with voters outside of Florida. Meanwhile, Florida's other candidate - the one-term former president Donald Trump - faces bigger problems as he confronts the mounting array of legal challenges being advanced against him.
In the most recent development, it would appear that certain of the classified documents that Trump is alleged to have taken without permission at the conclusion his single term in the White House, can't be located at present. The fact has caused Trump a certain amount of further difficulty as his credibility suffers further as a result.
The Florida Python challenge will likely be a good distraction for Governor DeSantis from the business of competing for the nomination. Good luck to all who take part!
Do you think that Ron DeSantis is giving enough attention to the job of Governor or Florida? Have you ever encountered a Burmese Python in Florida? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.