The 2016 Python Challenge kicks-off January 16, 2016. Register now for your chance to tackle these invasive snakes in the Everglades and win cash prizes.
Invasive species have long been a major ecological problem for Florida. Among the most newsworthy invaders have been Burmese pythons, which have spread throughout the southern portion of the state.
In an attempt to raise awareness of the issue of invasive species, if not wipe out a few snakes in the process, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting the 2016 Python Challenge starting January 16 through February 14.
Registration for the event is underway.
Individuals and teams will compete to determine who can harvest the longest or the most Burmese pythons. Grand prizes of $5,000 in the team category and $3,500 in the individual category are up for grabs. In addition, the first 200 people to register will receive a free 2016 Python Challenge t-shirt.
According to FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron; “We are providing training opportunities to teach people how to properly identify and safely capture Burmese pythons in the wild. Nonnative species are a problem for Florida – especially the one-of-a-kind Everglades ecosystem. The Python Challenge is empowering people to be part of the solution to this problem.”
Registration for the event is $25 per person or $75 per team. An online training course must be completed before registering. In-person trainings will also be available to teach participants how to handle and capture these large snakes.
For more information on registration and events pertaining to The 2016 Python Challenge, visit their website at pythonchallenge.org
FWC hosted a similar tournament in the winter of 2013. Over 1,600 hunters participated and reported 68 snakes. Skeptics derided the hunt for such an immense effort with little payoff in terms of ridding the region of pythons; however, FWC deemed it a success for the publicity and awareness it raised.