News Releases

FWC working with partners on the 2016 Python Challenge™

News Release

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459; Lisa Thompson, 727-896-8626

Additional partners have joined the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida Inc. for the 2016 Python Challenge™. Lands managed by the South Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be part of the competition.

“We are pleased by the support of our partners regarding this very important conservation effort to activate the public in becoming part of the long-term solution of managing invasive wildlife in Florida,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski at the Sept. 2 Commission meeting.

The FWC will continue to work closely with partners to ensure the competition is in line with their missions. In addition to general rules, there will be specific rules for each property participating in the Challenge. In this regard, the FWC has been working with its partners to allow for live capture and surrender in all areas.

“With opportunities for more access to areas where these snakes are found and more training events, we are focused on having an even more successful effort,” said Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “The whole world is looking at what we are doing and public awareness is an important component. It’s not just the amount of snakes removed, it’s enlisting public support for the eradication of nonnatives species.”

This week, the FWC launched a newly redesigned This new site contains information about Burmese pythons, the unique Everglades ecosystem, and resources for people planning a trip to south Florida to participate in next year’s events. Additional information, including details about upcoming training events, competition rules, registration and prizes will be posted as it becomes finalized.

The 2016 Python Challenge™ is a conservation effort that includes public outreach on invasive species and a month-long competition to remove Burmese pythons from public lands in south Florida.

The aim of the 2016 Python Challenge™ is to promote Everglades conservation through invasive species removal, and the FWC and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida are also increasing opportunities for the public to receive training so they can help. Training events will teach participants how to identify, report and then safely and humanely capture Burmese pythons.

To report nonnative fish and wildlife, call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), report your sighting online at or download the IveGot1 smartphone app.

For more information on Burmese pythons and other nonnative species in Florida, go to

FWC Facts:
Florida panthers often meticulously cache, or cover, their prey with leaves, grass and sticks. This helps prevent competitors and scavengers from finding and stealing their food.

Learn More at AskFWC