State officials call 2013 Python Challenge a success - FOX 13 News

State officials call 2013 Python Challenge a success

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During the nearly month-long hunt a total of 68 Burmese pythons were removed from the Everglades. During the nearly month-long hunt a total of 68 Burmese pythons were removed from the Everglades.
MIAMI (FOX 13) -

A competition to eliminate a dangerous invasive species from the Florida Everglades concluded earlier this week.

A total of 68 Burmese pythons were killed during the 2013 Python Challenge. The snake hunt began on January 12th and wrapped up on February 10th.

According to a release issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the event was held to heighten public awareness about the snake and the damage it could do the state's ecosystem.

Officials say the unprecedented hunt allowed researchers to obtain valuable information on the Burmese python population in the Everglades.

"Thanks to the determination of Python Challenge competitors, we are able to gather invaluable information that will help refine and focus combined efforts to control pythons in the Everglades," explained FFWCC Executive Director Nick Wiley. "The enthusiastic support from the public, elected officials, conservation organizations, government agencies and researchers gives hope that we can make progress on this difficult conservation challenge by working together."

Organizers of the Python Challenge say nearly 1,600 people from 38 states, the District of Columbia and Canada took part in the nearly month-long event.

The State of Florida prohibits possession or sale of Burmese pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of this species. The public can help the fight to control invasive species such as Burmese pythons by:

- Reporting sightings of exotic species to 888-IVE-GOT-1 - It's helpful if you can submit a photo and location.

-  Not releasing an exotic pet into the wild, and reminding others of the dangers of releasing non-native species.

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