Invasive Python Hunting Season

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A Florida Wildlife Commission employee captures a Burmese python during the kickoff event for the Florida Python Challenge in Sunrise, Florida, on 10 January. Photograph: Joe Cavaretta/AP

We first started paying attention to invasive species here. Since then, every year, we pay more and more attention, especially to the pythons in the Everglades. It is that time of year:

Florida hunters capture more than 80 giant snakes in Python Bowl

Annual challenge encourages the public to catch as many of the invasive giant snakes that decimate native wildlife as possible

Most visitors to the mosquito-infested swamps of the Florida Everglades are happy to leave again quickly: a half-hour airboat ride and photograph of a basking alligator is usually enough to satisfy the curiosity of any tourist keen to return to the theme parks and beaches – or sports events – of the sunshine state’s more traditional attractions.

But Mike Kimmel wouldn’t be anywhere else. The professional wildlife trapper and self-styled python cowboy’s most recent excursion into the uninhabitable backwaters of the famed River of Grass region was rewarded with the grand prize in this year’s extra-special version of the annual Python Challenge encouraging the public to catch as many of the invasive giant snakes that decimate native wildlife as possible.

This year the hunt was called Python Bowl because nearby Miami is hosting the annual finale to the National Football League season – the Super Bowl – this weekend, which brings hordes of extra visitors to the state. The hunt attracted extra sports sponsorship and more categories and prizes this year, on offer to intrepid reptile hunters from near and far.

Local Kimmel bagged eight Burmese pythons, accounting for 10% of the entire haul of 80 captured during the 10-day event.

It was organised by the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission (FWC) and south Florida water management district, with involvement from the Miami Super Bowl host committee this year, and strong support from Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis…

Read the whole story here.

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