Grand Prizes of $1,500 Presented to Top Competitors

The winners of the 2013 Python Challenge–which closed February 10th–were announced Saturday.

A total of 68 Burmese pythons were harvested between January 12th and February 10th in an effort to heighten public awareness about the invasive species, and to gather data about the pythons and their impact on the Everglades ecosystem.

Florida FWC commissioner Ron Bergeron and FWC executive director Nick Wiley congratulated and presented the top finishers with their trophies at Zoo Miami on February 16th:

  • General Competition for Most Pythons:
    • Brian Barrows took in six pythons to win the grand prize of $1,500.
    • Bill Booth harvested 5 pythons to win the second place prize of $750.
  • Python Permit Holders Competitions for Most Pythons:
    • Ruben Ramirez collected 18 pythons to win the grand prize of $1,500.
    • Blake Russ brought in five pythons to win the second place prize of $750.
  • General Competition for Longest Python:
    • Paul Shannons caught a 14-foot, 3-inch-long python to win the grand prize of $1,000.
    • Rigoberto Figueroa caught a 14-foot, 2.3-inch-long python to win the second place prize of $750.
  • Python Permit Holders Competition for Longest Python:
    • Blake Russ harvested an 11-fot, 1-inch-long python to win the grand prize of $1,000.
    • Ruben Ramirez brought in a 10-foor, 6.8-inch-long python to win the second place prize of $750.

httpv://youtu.be/ifRqSwGc-HY

Nick Wiley stated after the awards ceremony that, “Thanks to the determination of Python Challenge competitors, we are able to gather invaluable information that will help refine and focus combined efforts to control pythons in the Everglades. The enthusiastic support from the public, elected officials, conservation organizations, government agencies and researchers gives hope that we can make progress on this difficult conservation challenge by working together.”

Possession and sale of Burmese pythons as pets is prohibited in Florida; federal law also bans the interstate sale and the importation of invasive species such as the Burmese python.

If you wish to assist in controlling invasive species such Burmese pythons you can:

  • Report sightings of the invasive species to 888-IVE-GOT-1 or www.ivegot1.org.
  • Remind others about the dangers and problems associated with releasing non-native species, and avoid releasing those species yourself.

Images and video courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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