Record-breaking python killed in Florida Everglades hunt

ORLANDO, Florida - One of the newest pythons to be caught in the Everglades is a record breaker.
A pair of trappers caught the 18-foot, 9-inch invasive Burmese python on a hunt that was working for the South Florida Water Management District.
Ryan Anburn and Kevin Pavlidis caught the 104-pound woman on October 2 as part of the district's python elimination program, which has caught nearly 4,000 snakes since 2017. The snake was found about 35 miles west of Miami.Its length exceeds the previous record of 18 feet (8 inches) set in 2013.
Officials have said capturing females is of the utmost importance to avoid adding another 30 to 60 hatchlings each breeding season.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission also runs a program called the Python Action Team, which has caught more than 1,000 more, while even more are managed by a National Park Service program. All three are involved in the administration of states and states in South Florida, where the Python problem is worst.
"The removal of this female snake is a triumph for our native wildlife and habitats, and a great example of the partnership between our two programs working towards our goal of removing alien pythons," a post on the Facebook page said by FWC, who shows a picture ofausburn. Pavlidis and her capture as part of the program that "encourages a limited number of public spirited people to humanely euthanize these destructive snakes that have become apex predators in the Everglades."
The python presence in the Everglades has increased since the early 2000s and spread across South Florida. FWC said the population grew as a result of pets escaped or released.
The United States Geological Survey estimates the population is still tens of thousands.
Federal and state efforts had removed more than 2,000 of the exotic invasive species from 2002 to 2017, but efforts have been intensified over the past four years.
"Today's record shows that our intensified efforts are aimed at removing harmful pythons from the precious Everglades ecosystem," said Ron Bergeron, board member of the water management district, in a press release. "Together with our partners and the public, we can restore the Everglades and combat the harmful pythons that harm Florida's native wildlife."
Any show that sees python or other alien species can call the state exotic species hotline 888-IVEGOT1 (888-483-4681). FWC will dispatch contractors with the Python Action Team or the Python Elimination Program of the Water Management District to remove it.
© 2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Florida)
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