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Registration for 2021 Python Challenge now open

Gov. Ron DeSantis helps hold a python at a news conference Thursday, June 3, in Miami.
Gov. Ron DeSantis helps hold a python at a news conference Thursday, June 3, in Miami.(Office of the Governor)
Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT
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MIAMI, Fla. (WWSB) - The state officially opened registration Thursday for the 2021 Florida Python Challenge, set for July 9-18.

Potential python hunters can take online training and then compete to remove invasive Burmese pythons from the wild.

“Since taking office, I have been focused on protecting, restoring and preserving the Everglades for future generations,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was on hand for the announcement. “As a part of my focus, I’ve charged FWC with dedicating more resources and taking innovative approaches to removing invasive Burmese pythons.”

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and feast on native species. They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female Burmese python may lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Since 2019, more than 5,250 pythons have been removed from the state, and overall more than 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed since 2000. For more information on Burmese pythons, visit MyFWC.com/Python.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported participants in the 2020 challenge removed 80 pythons from the Everglades. More than 750 people from 20 states registered to take part in the 10-day competition.

“As a Miami native, I am proud to say that this administration not only recognizes the importance of the Everglades, but is taking action to protect our most critical resource,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. “Today, as we announce the Python Challenge and continued record funding for the environment, this administration remains committed to standing strong on behalf of the Everglades and our incredible water resources in Florida.”

Visit FLPythonChallenge.org to register for the competition, take the online 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 Florida Python Challenge.

Since 2019, the state has taken unprecedented action to remove pythons in Florida:

  • Governor DeSantis directed FWC and DEP to allow for the removal of invasive Burmese pythons from all state parks. The agencies entered into an agreement that resulted in an additional 134,648 acres of land that are now accessible for python removal.
  • Governor DeSantis announced the U.S. Department of the Interior granted Florida’s request to increase access to federal lands for python removal, particularly within the Big Cypress National Preserve.
  • Participants in the 2020 Python Challenge removed 80 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades. More than 750 people from 20 states registered to take part in the 10-day competition.

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