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Join the fun at 2016 Python Challenge™ Invasive Species Awareness Festival

News Release

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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

Photos and video available at:

Want to learn more about invasive fish and wildlife and what you can do to help conserve Florida’s natural resources? Come to the 2016 Python Challenge™ Invasive Species Awareness Festival in Miami this Saturday, Jan. 16.

The free, family-friendly festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199.

Watch as experts demonstrate how to safely capture a live Burmese python. You can also learn how to safely fillet invasive lionfish and avoid their venomous spines, sample dishes made with invasive species and register for the 2016 Python Challenge™ Python Removal Competition onsite. The festival also includes educational and vendor booths, kids’ activities, the chance to win raffle prizes, and the opportunity to learn from experts about the threats of invasive fish and wildlife and how you can help prevent them.

“We want people to come to this festival and have a great time while learning how they can be part of the solution for managing invasive wildlife in Florida,” said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron. “Even if you are not taking part in the Python Removal Competition, you can help by reporting sightings of nonnative species. There are ways  for all of us to get involved in conserving our state’s precious natural resources, and the global Everglades ecosystem.”

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 Florida. The 2016 Python Challenge™ Python Removal Competition kicks off at noon on Jan. 16, and ends at 7 p.m. on Feb. 14. The aim of the 2016 Python Challenge™ is to engage the public in participating in Everglades conservation through invasive species awareness and removal.

Visit for more information about the 2016 Python Challenge™, including information on the Invasive Species Awareness Festival, the unique Everglades ecosystem, and details about the 2016 Python Challenge™ Python Removal Competition, including competition and area rules, how to register, and training opportunities. Free in-person, hands-on trainings will be offered through Feb. 6.

To report nonnative fish and wildlife, call the FWC’s Invasive 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


Participants of a 2016 Python Challenge hands-on training hold up a Burmese python.

FWC Facts:
White and brown shrimp depend on estuaries as nursery habitats, leaving when they reach 4-5 inches in length. This “shrimp run” occurs in late summer or early fall.

Learn More at AskFWC