The goal of the 2013 Python Challenge™ is increasing public awareness about Burmese pythons and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife.
Everyone is invited. There are two educational and exciting free public events in south Florida planned for the beginning of 2013 where you, your family and friends can come to learn about Burmese pythons and other invasive species impacting the Everglades. The 2013 Python Challenge™ Kickoff will be Jan. 12, 2013 at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie, and the 2013 Python Challenge™ Awareness and Awards Event will be Feb. 16, 2013 at Zoo Miami.
The establishment of these large exotic snakes, documented to reach more than 17 feet in length in Florida, has received international attention. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners are hosting these public events to:
- Share what we know about Burmese pythons in Florida;
- Encourage responsible harvesting of Burmese pythons;
- Talk about how responsible pet ownership prevents release into the wild of invasive species such as Burmese pythons;
- Encourage people to report sightings of all invasive species.
Both events will include the opportunity to see live Burmese pythons, meet scientists who research and capture them in Florida, and find out more about the precious natural treasure that is the Everglades and how all of us can help protect it.
2013 Python Challenge™
Kickoff Schedule of Events
The 2013 Python Challenge™ Kickoff will feature displays and information about identifying Burmese pythons and other nonnative reptiles, for both the general public and the people registered or planning to register to compete in the month-long harvest of Burmese pythons in the Everglades. Additional training will be available for Python Challenge™ participants on safely capturing live pythons, data collection, and maps displaying the areas where the competition will take place. A 10 a.m. news conference will announce the official 1 p.m. start of the 2013 Python Challenge™.
In conjunction with the kickoff, the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center will hold its annual open house featuring research and management efforts on a number of invasive species. The "Culinary Safari" chef will be cooking up dishes featuring exotic species.
2013 Python Challenge™
Awareness and Awards Event
The 2013 Python Challenge™ Awareness and Awards Event will be an "un-festival" which, rather than being a celebration of a species, will promote awareness of the threat posed by invasive Burmese pythons and other nonnative species in south Florida.
This will be your chance to view Burmese pythons up close, and interact with scientists and exhibitors to learn more about the big snake's biology and behavior as well as research and management programs directed at increasing what we know and can do about lessening the impact of Burmese pythons on the Everglades. Expect lots of educational activities and exhibits, mixed in with food and fun.
There will be a ceremony to announce the winners of the 2013 Python Challenge™. Awards will be given to the people who harvested the longest Burmese python and the most Burmese pythons in the contest's two categories: the General Competition and the Python Permit Holders Competition.