Python Snakes To Killed Off From State Lands
CLEWISTON, FL. -- In response to the increase of Burmese pythons in the Everglades ecosystem, Florida Governor Charlie Crist requested Chairman Rodney Barreto and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) take immediate action to stop the spread of pythons onto state lands.
In response to the Governor�s direction, the FWC, in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and in consultation with its federal partners in the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, will implement a permitting program that could ultimately lead to a bounty system for controlling this invasive, exotic species. The FWC will begin issuing permits on July 17. Initially, this program will focus control efforts on state lands lying south of Lake Okeechobee, including FWC-managed lands and SFWMD property.
This permitting program will be carried out by a limited number of qualified herpetology experts who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts. Burmese pythons captured under the permit will be euthanized when they are captured.
Permit-holders will collect basic data (location, approximate size, weight, and stomach contents) on the captured species. Data collected will help the FWC and its partners develop better methods of controlling exotic species. The program will extend through the fall and winter months, at which point it will be reviewed for its effectiveness.
FWC Chairman Barreto noted that to achieve full success in controlling Burmese pythons, these types of efforts will need to be ultimately expanded onto federally-managed lands in the Everglades.
The FWC hope this program also will demonstrate that a bounty system utilizing volunteer efforts and capitalizing on the value of the meat and hides from pythons can provide a cost effective solution that can be readily applied in places where Burmese pythons have the strongest foothold including Everglades National Park.
Over the years, the FWC has made it a priority to work with owners of exotic pets. The FWC annually hosts pet amnesty days around the state. These events allow owners of exotic pets to turn in their animals for free, no questions asked. In addition, state law requires that all pets that are Reptiles of Concern be licensed by the FWC. The license costs $100 per year and mandates specific caging requirements. Burmese pythons more than two inches in diameter must be implanted with a microchip that identifies the animal. It is unlawful to release them or allow them to escape them into the wild.