Florida adds prizes to boost python removals in Everglades

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is making it easier for people to help remove invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials announced Monday new incentives to report and remove the giant constrictors blamed for decimating populations of native animals.

Under the Python Pickup Program, anyone submitting the location and a photograph of a python removal on certain state-managed lands will receive a T-shirt and be entered into monthly prize drawings. Monthly prizes include snake hooks, custom engraved Yeti tumblers, Plano sportsman’s trunks, GoPro cameras and Badlands backpacks, with the grand prize being a Florida Lifetime Sportsman’s License. The program also extends to private lands, with landowners’ approval.

An executive order now allows people to remove pythons year-round from 22 public lands without a hunting license or wildlife management area permit. The state also is paying more contractors to remove pythons from specific areas.

Python Patrol Training is available to teach people how to identify and remove pythons.

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