There's been a landmark catch in South Florida Water Management District's pay-for-python program.
The 900th invasive snake has been nabbed.
The python elimination program pays a team of trained hunters minimum wage plus bonuses based on snake length. An average of three pythons have been eliminated per day from water management lands since the program began in March 2017.
“This (water management district) Governing Board program has been enormously effective in killing this relentless predator in an effort to preserve native Everglades wildlife,” said district scientist Mike Kirkland, project manager for the Python Elimination Program.
“The sheer numbers and the sizes of the snakes being caught demonstrate how massive a threat these predators are to our beautiful habitat.”
According to the district:
Hunter Eric Bramblet dispatched the 900th python in Collier County, a 5.5-foot long snake. This record high total comes as SFWMD observes National Invasive Species Awareness Week, Feb. 26-March 2, which is meant to bring attention to the problem of exotic and invasive plants and animals that are wreaking havoc on ecosystems throughout the world.
In addition to the innovative program fighting the spread of Burmese pythons, the SFWMD Governing Board for years has budgeted millions of dollars in cooperation with other state and federal partners to eradicate and control invasive species such as Melaleuca, Brazilian pepper trees and the invasive fern Lygodium.