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Python hunt offers $10,000 award

The Everglades. (Flpythonchallenge.org)

The mightiest python catcher in the Florida Python Challenge will be rewarded with $10,000.

The announcement of the award, which will given to the participant who removes the most pythons, was made Friday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Water Management District and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Virtual Business Services is sponsoring the award.

The challenge runs July 9-18. Participants must pay a $25 registration fee to compete in the challenge and complete free online training.

The challenge will take place in South Florida over 1.5 million acres on seven public lands, some of which border the Seminole Tribe’s Big Cypress Reservation and the Miccosukee Reservation.

Participants who do not win the $10,000 grand prize can still win thousands of dollars for the most pythons in other categories. Awards will be doled out for the longest snakes. Active-duty military personnel and veterans who register are eligible for additional prizes.

The Burmese python is not native to Florida. According to the FWC, the python is negatively impacting native species – including birds, mammals and other reptiles – especially in and around the Everglades ecosystem. Efforts to eradicate the python in the Everglades during the past few years have drawn worldwide attention. In the past 20 years, more than 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida, according to the FWC.

For more information and to register visit flpythonchallenge.org/.

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