March 9, 2017

SFWMD Governing Board Takes Action
to Protect the Everglades
Protect the Everglades. Kill Pythons. Earn Money.
Wanted: Python Hunters - Enlist Today.
West Palm Beach, FL -   One species, the Burmese python, has a stranglehold on the Everglades ecosystem, and it isn't letting go. In response, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today approved pilot program funding designed to incentivize private parties who are prepared to help eliminate these snakes from public lands. The monetary compensation program is a bold new action plan giving participants unprecedented access to District-owned lands in an effort to remove these destructive snakes that have become an apex predator of the Everglades.

"Anyone who has seen the now famous python vs. alligator video can attest that the fight for survival of the Everglades is real," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "This Board is taking appropriate action to push back the infestation of these invaders. Floridians should have no sympathies for this notorious strangler, and this latest initiative should pave the way for further exotic elimination efforts."


On April 1, 25 participants will be selected to work with District staff to implement the program to kill pythons over a 60-day period. Participants are encouraged to register at begins on March 10). If retained, each participant will be given instructions and field identification guides allowing access to District lands infested with pythons in Miami-Dade County. Participants will be paid minimum wage hourly rate up to eight hours daily. Depending on the size of the snake presented, there will be an additional on-the-spot per python payment of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet and an extra $25 for each foot measured above 4 feet. See example below:


An additional $100 will be given for each eliminated python nest with eggs.


Eligibility Rules:

Everyone is welcome to apply to become a participant by completing and submitting an application found on the website. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver's license. Participants must have access to a mobile device (iPhone or Android) for utilization of the required GPS software. Participants may not have been convicted of a wildlife-related offense. The District reserves the right to select applicants that have demonstrable experience, or other relevant expertise, over other candidates.


Click on the infographic to see concentrations of Burmese and North African python sightings in South Florida.
Once sought-after commodities, Burmese pythons have been sold by breeders as pets or showpieces to exotic animal collectors. Since making their way into the bountiful grounds of Florida's Everglades, these pythons have thrived, assuming a top position on the food chain.

Researchers have been pressed to provide specific numbers related to those currently inhabiting the Everglades, but a rapid number of increased sightings from 2005 to 2010 is alarming. This species was once relegated to only Everglades National Park and Miami-Dade County, but recent tracking shows these pythons are moving westward into locations like Big Cypress National Preserve and Collier County and northward into Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Click on infographic to see how the invasive python's diet has wreaked havoc on Florida's native species.

The scaled menace possesses an insatiable appetite that can not only kill Florida native prey species and pose a threat to humans, but also rob panthers, birds of prey, alligators and bobcats of a primary food source.


In fact, a 2015 University of Florida study researched python impact on indigenous food sources. Researchers released 95 adult marsh rabbits in areas known to harbor pythons. Within 11 months of the release in the Everglades, the study showed that pythons accounted for 77 percent of rabbit deaths, reducing prey for native predators.
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |    |  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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