The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Everglades National Park are expanding efforts to remove Burmese pythons from the park.
The program will expand the number of FWC contractors from 40 to 120, allowing them, to use firearms or other humane methods to euthanize pythons in the park, according to a news release from the FWC Thursday.
Qualified NPS personnel will also live capture and turn in pythons, officials said.
The FWC said the pythons are invasive and need to be removed. The snakes pose a significant threat to the Everglades ecosystem.
Contractors could begin the python-removal process as early as July.
“We are excited to partner with FWC on invasive species management and are certain this partnership will increase python removals within our park,” said Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos in a news release. “We worked hard in planning this expansion to ensure it won’t harm the park and its exceptional resources.”
Burmese pythons became established in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets, the FWC said.
People should never release nonnative pets in the wild in Florida. It is illegal and can negatively impact native wildlife and habitats. The FWC has an Exotic Pet Amnesty Program that allows nonnative pets to be surrendered without penalty.
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