Gov. DeSantis announces Python Challenge to help remove invasive species
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the opening of registration for the 2020 Python Challenge Python Bowl. The State of Florida has teamed up with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and other partners to support the Committee’s Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative. The Python Bowl will begin January 10th and members of the public will sign up for training, then compete to remove as many snakes as possible from the wild.
The Governor also announced that python contractors will now have access to over 150 miles of secondary trails within Big Cypress National Park. This will begin immediately and positively impact the scope of the Python Challenge competition.
“The protection of our environment and natural resources is critical,” said Governor DeSantis. “Invasive Burmese pythons have decimated local wildlife and pose a massive threat to natural food chains and flora and fauna. The 2020 Python Bowl is sure to be a great success, and I look forward to the positive effects it will have on preserving and protecting the Everglades ecosystem.”
“This is not a case of many different agencies doing their own thing, this is one mission supported by a diverse portfolio of assets of different partners, including the sportsmen and women that dedicate so much of their time and effort for conservation,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Executive Director Eric Sutton. “As a conservation biologist, it is exciting to be completely aligned with our policy-makers including FWC Commissioners and the governor to combat this important conservation issue.”
“We know Governor DeSantis and many partners have long been committed to environmental initiatives like this,” said FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto. “With the support of the Miami Super Bowl Committee, we now have a broader audience ready to learn more about the unique ecosystem of South Florida and how they can help conserve it.”
“Governor Ron DeSantis is making a difference in restoring the Everglades and tackling Florida’s python problem,” said South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Executive Director Drew Bartlett. “Along with record-setting recommendations for Everglades restoration funding, the Governor is directing more resources and putting new energy into removing these harmful pythons from the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.”
“Governor DeSantis’ strong commitment to Everglades restoration is remarkable,” said SFWMD Governing Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron. “Harmful pythons disrupt the natural food chain and prey on native wildlife that depend on the Everglades. With his leadership, Florida is doing more than it ever has to remove pythons from the Everglades and protect this ecosystem for generations to come.”
About the Python Challenge Python Bowl
To register for the Florida Python Challenge™, members of the public must first complete the online training. There are also opportunities for optional in-person training that include a hands-on component where the public can learn to identify pythons and practice safe handling and capturing techniques.
Anyone can sign up for in-person training even if they are not participating in the Python Challenge. Click here to register for the competition, sign up for training, learn more about Burmese pythons and the unique Everglades ecosystem, and find resources for planning your trip to South Florida to participate in the Python Challenge.
For more information, click here.