House approves Everglades python hunting bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida House voted to enter into competitive bid contracts with private individuals who want to hunt down pythons, lionfish and other invasive species in the Everglades.

The measure (HB 587) unanimously passed by the Florida House on Wednesday would establish a pilot program, which would track data on each nonnative animal’s capture on state-managed land and water. Florida currently spends $1.2 million in several statewide efforts to boost python removals. Some of the current incentives for hunters include an $8.10 hourly pay and monthly prize winnings.

Under the bill, pet dealers would also need to tag certain invasive species before putting them up for sale.

A similar bill in the Senate has moved ahead in two committee stops.

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