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Invasive Species: 106 Burmese Pythons Were Killed In the Florida Everglades Hunt

Feb 29, 2016 02:10 PM EST

The 2016 Burmese python hunt hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has ended, and hunters brought in 106 of the super-size, invasive snakes that are known to wreak serious havoc to the Everglades ecosystem by consuming deer, large wading birds -- and otherwise competing with native species.

"We are pleased with the success of this year's Python Challenge," FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron said in a release. "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."

Hunt participants in the 2016 Python Challenge were from 29 states and added up to more than 1,000 individuals. The challenge lasted for a month.

There were some highlights. For instance, one team brought in 33 pythons, snaring the $5,000 cash prize. A second-place team captured 9 pythons for a $1,500 prize. One individual caught 13 of the snakes for the $3,500 grand-prize solo-hunter prize.

The longest python in the bunch of those captured? It was a whopping 13 feet, 8.7 inches, netting a $1,000 prize for the person who hauled it in.

The participants were all required to finish an online training module in advance. Also, more than 500 people went to in-person trainings. The latter schooled them in identifying, finding and capturing Burmese pythons in a safe and humane way.

"Our staff worked hard to provide these valuable training opportunities throughout south Florida," Nick Wiley, FWC executive director said in the release. "We attribute much of the success to these expanded training opportunities."

Broadening the public's awareness of the invasive snakes and the damage they do is the largest benefit of the hunt, said Bergeron in an article.

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