Governor Ron DeSantis today announced and applauded the efforts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to remove more than 3,600 invasive Burmese pythons from South Florida’s Everglades System.
This month, FWC’s Python Action Team reached a major milestone of removing 1,000 Burmese pythons from the wild in Florida. The removal of these 1,000 snakes compliments the more than 2,600 pythons removed by the SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program.
“I’m proud that our recent efforts to expedite the removal of invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades are yielding results,” said Governor DeSantis. “The removal of more than 3,600 pythons by FWC and the South Florida Water Management District is an important milestone in this fight and demonstrates that our policies are working. Together, we will continue to build on this success and do all we can to preserve and restore our environment.”
On August 7, Governor DeSantis joined FWC and the SFWMD to announce new efforts to remove pythons from the greater Everglades. The Governor directed FWC and the District to increase collaboration on a number of initiatives, including training programs, research, education campaigns and incentives for veterans to remove pythons.
The SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program and FWC’s Python Action Team were created in March and April of 2017, respectively. Both programs were designed to further engage qualified individuals with python control efforts. In recent months, FWC has doubled their number of Action Team contractors, significantly increasing the number of pythons that have been removed.
The FWC Python Action Team’s 1000th python was captured by Tom Rahill and the Swamp Apes Team in the Chekika region of Everglades National Park. It measured in at 9 feet, 5 inches long and weighed 23 pounds. The Swamp Apes Team is a group dedicated to serving U.S. veterans through serving the wilderness.
Tom Rahill – 1,000th python
“Removing thousands of snakes has certainly been a team effort! With the support of the Governor, we have been working with our partners with the South Florida Water Management District as well as the National Park Service to help us gain access to Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, both national treasures,”said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “We have also been fortunate to have U.S. heroes from veterans’ groups helping to lead the charge.”
“Governor DeSantis brought new energy and bold leadership to Florida’s python program,” said SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett. “We join our partners at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Everglades National Park in celebrating more than 3,600 pythons removed from the Everglades. Together, we’re all working to restore the Everglades and combat the harmful pythons that hurt Florida’s native wildlife.”
“The dedication of Tom Rahill and the veterans of the Swamp Apes is commendable,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. “Not only do their consistent efforts remove countless invasive snakes, but the captured pythons also provide our biologists and our USGS partners opportunities for research so that we can seek new methods to control their population.”