MIAMI (AP) – The hunt is on for invasive Burmese pythons in Florida’s wetlands.
The state’s second public hunt for the exotic snakes starts at noon Saturday and ends at 7 p.m. on Feb. 14. Over 500 people have registered to look for pythons across a swath of state lands in South Florida. Some authorized hunters also are allowed to extend the hunt into Everglades National Park.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say the hunt helps raise awareness about the threat invasive species pose to native Florida plants and wildlife. Pythons in particular are blamed for significant drop-offs in native mammal populations in the Everglades.
The 68 pythons snared during the first Python Challenge in 2013 provided researchers with an abundance of data, but the hunt did nothing to curb the python population.