With 106 snakes removed, 2016 Python Challenge™ a success
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459
Photos and video available at: PythonChallenge.org/newsroom
With participants turning in 106 snakes, the 2016 Python Challenge™ is a success on many levels. Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the results and winners of the Python Removal Competition at the 2016 Python Challenge™ award ceremony in Davie.
“We are pleased with the success of this year’s Python Challenge,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Each python that is removed makes a difference for our native wildlife, and the increased public awareness will help us keep people involved as we continue managing invasive species in Florida.”
More than 1,000 people from 29 states registered to take part in the month-long competition to remove Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem.
Here are the official 2016 Python Challenge™ results:
Team Category – Most Pythons
- Grand prize winners led by team captain Bill Booth captured 33 pythons and received a $5,000 cash prize. Team members include Duane Clark, Dusty Crum and Craig Nicks.
- Second-place winners led by team captain Paul Shannon captured 9 pythons and received a $1,500 cash prize. Team members include Brian Barrows, Jake Carner and Chris Shannon.
Individual Category – Most Pythons
- Grand Prize winner Daniel Moniz captured 13 pythons and received a $3,500 cash prize.
- Second-place winner Steve Daskam captured 8 pythons and received a $750 cash prize.
Team Category – Longest Python
- Grand Prize winners led by team captain Bill Booth captured a 15-foot-long python and received a $3,000 cash prize. Team members include Duane Clark, Dusty Crum and Craig Nicks.
- Second-place winners led by team captain Paul Shannon captured a 14-foot, .9-inch-long python and received a $1,000 cash prize. Team members include Brian Barrows, Jake Carner and Chris Shannon.
Individual Category – Longest Python
- Grand Prize winner Daniel Moniz captured a 13-foot, 8.7-inch-long python and received a $1,000 cash prize.
- Second-place winner Jack Merwin captured a 13-foot, .77-inch-long python and received a $750 cash prize.
All Python Removal Competition winners will also receive a hand-crafted Woodman’s Pal land-clearing tool donated by Pro Tool Industries as part of their prize.
Every Python Removal Competition participant was required to complete an online training module, and more than 500 people also attended in-person trainings, which taught them how to identify, locate and safely and humanely capture Burmese pythons.
“Our staff worked hard to provide these valuable training opportunities throughout south Florida,” said Nick Wiley, FWC executive director. “We attribute much of the success to these expanded training opportunities.”
Other factors that may have led to this year’s success include favorable weather conditions and a larger geographic area for the competition. The original 2013 Python Challenge™ resulted in removal of 68 Burmese pythons.
“We are excited to see so many people contribute to this important effort to conserve Florida’s natural treasure, the Everglades ecosystem,” said Bergeron. “We need to keep this momentum going now that the competition is over.”
In addition to the 2016 Python Challenge™, there are several ways the general public can continue to help the FWC manage nonnatives. People can participate in the FWC’s Python Removal Program, a year-round citizen science program that uses trained individuals to help remove pythons and collect data on pythons on state lands. People can also take part in ongoing Python Patrol trainings to learn more about how to identify and capture Burmese pythons in the wild. Visit MyFWC.com/Python for more information.
The public can also help manage invasive species by reporting nonnative fish and wildlife to the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), by reporting sightings online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the IveGot1 smartphone app.
The prize money was provided by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which co-hosted the 2016 Python Challenge™ along with the FWC.
For more information about the 2016 Python Challenge™, visit PythonChallenge.org.
To learn more about Burmese pythons and other nonnative species in Florida, go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.