News Releases

Python Challenge™ and other tools help FWC manage conflict wildlife

News Release

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459

Photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: PythonChallenge.org/Newsroom

Python Challenge™ Video available at: https://youtu.be/5tKgf6FPXEA

At its April meeting in Jupiter, staff provided the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with an update on efforts to manage conflict wildlife, including a summary of the recent 2016 Python Challenge™.

The intent of the Python Challenge was to engage the public in participating in Everglades conservation through invasive species removal, an effort that was successful on many levels. The event motivated more than 1,000 people from 29 states to take part in the effort to manage these invasive snakes, with participants capturing 106 Burmese pythons — the most ever removed from the Everglades ecosystem in a single month. Over 500 people attended in-person trainings, creating a legion of citizen scientists who can help with future management efforts.

Other components, including an online photo contest with more than 800 entries, provided people from all over the world with an opportunity to be a part of the 2016 Python Challenge, further raising awareness about this important issue.

“With more than 2,500 total participants in 2013 and 2016, we have educated members of the public about a large nonnative snake that can impact our wildlife, and I am now seeing a lot of results outside the Python Challenge,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Bass fishermen come up to me to tell me they are now removing pythons when they are out fishing. But we still need help. Whether you are a hiker, photographer or a hunter, you can assist with our efforts to manage nonnative species.”

Building on momentum from the 2016 Python Challenge, FWC continues its long-term efforts to manage Burmese pythons as well as other high-priority nonnatives such as Northern African pythons, Argentine black and white tegus, Nile monitors and several nonnative fish species.

In addition to nonnative fish and wildlife, the FWC is helping to address other human-wildlife conflict issues that involve native species.

As Florida’s population grows, there may be an increase of situations where wildlife and people have conflicts with each other. A primary goal of the agency is to ensure continued support and appreciation of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources while minimizing potential conflicts between the two. FWC’s wildlife assistance biologists provide technical assistance to residents and communities experiencing conflicts with wildlife such as bats, bears and coyotes. They offer consultations over the phone or in person, conduct site visits and provide community-based presentations to help address concerns with wildlife.

Residents and local governments can request help from the FWC’s regional wildlife assistance biologists by contacting the nearest FWC Regional Office. To learn more about the program, visit MyFWC.com/Wildlifehabitats and click on “Wildlife Assistance.”

To learn more about the 2016 Python Challenge visit PythonChallenge.org. Additional information about nonnatives in Florida is available at MyFWC.com/nonnatives.



FWC Facts:
Boaters who accidentally strike a manatee are urged to report it to the FWC. You may not be subject to prosecution if you were following any speed restrictions at the time.

Learn More at AskFWC