Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

800 sign up for 'python challenge'

Experts say the Burmese python is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades

Nearly 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is holding a month-long "python challenge" in which officials are offering cash prizes to whoever brings in the longest python and whoever bags the most pythons.

The hunt starts at 1pm on Saturday and ends at midnight on February 10.

The Burmese python is an invasive species that experts say is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades.

Florida currently prohibits possession or sale of the pythons for use as pets. Federal law bans the importing and selling of the species.

For the first time, the public is joining licensed hunters in the search for the snakes. Officials hope the competition will help rid the Everglades of the invaders.

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