Nov. 22, 2017

SFWMD Gives Thanks for Bountiful Harvest
  The Governing Board's Python Elimination Program reached its latest milestone this week with the 700th python eliminated
 
                   
Click on the image to watch a video of python hunter Dustin "Wildman" Crum talking about his recent record catch as part of the SFWMD Governing Board's Python Elimination Program.
                       
West Palm Beach, FL - Earlier this week, hunters killed the 700th invasive python as part of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board's Python Elimination Program, the latest milestone for the program. Since the program began in late March, an average of three pythons have been eliminated per day from SFWMD lands.
 
Python hunter Eric Bramblet caught the fourth 16-foot python in the SFWMD Python Elimination Program. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
This month brought two of the largest pythons eliminated as part of the program. On Nov. 1, Dustin "Wildman" Crum, of Myakka City, brought in a 16-foot-11-inch Burmese python that broke his own program record, edging the previous high by an inch. Five days later, a 16-foot-3-inch python killed by Eric Bramblet, of Bonita Springs, weighed in at 143 pounds, 1 pound short of the program record set by Nicholas Banos and Leonardo Sanchez in early April.

"This Governing Board program has been enormously effective in killing this relentless predator to help preserve native Everglades wildlife," said SFWMD scientist Mike Kirkland, project manager for the Python Elimination Program. "The sheer numbers that are being caught and their size shows how massive a threat these predators are to our beautiful habitat."
 
All the pythons eliminated by the program would stretch more than 4,700 feet - almost nine-tenths of a mile - and weigh more than 10,000 pounds, or the equivalent of approximately two Lincoln Town Cars. Elected officials and celebrities ranging from U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., to superstar chef Gordon Ramsey have taken part in the hunts, bringing international awareness to the issue of this invasive species and the District's efforts to eradicate them. Kirkland and the python hunters were also featured in a Discovery Channel television special about the program.

About the Program
A team of professional python hunters was selected from more than 1,000 applicants and given access to District-owned lands in Miami-Dade County for the pilot phase and later in Broward and Collier counties as the program expanded. These independent contractors are paid $8.10 per hour, up to eight hours daily, to hunt in the Everglades. Depending on the size of the snake presented, they can also receive additional payments of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet and an extra $25 for each foot measured above 4 feet. An additional $200 is given for each eliminated python nest with eggs.

The invasive Burmese python, which breeds and multiplies quickly and has no natural predator in the Everglades ecosystem, has decimated native populations of wildlife. The more of these snakes that can be eliminated, especially females and their eggs, the better chance future generations of native wildlife will have to thrive in the Everglades ecosystem that Floridians have invested billions of dollars to restore.

Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |   rrsmith@sfwmd.gov    |  Office: 561-682-2800  |  Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida's water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

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