Congratulations to the 2023 Florida Python Challenge Winners!
The 10-day 2023 Florida Python Challenge® was a bad time to be a Burmese python. The annual event, organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners, aims to raise awareness about the invasive species in Florida and its environmental impact. The competition also encourages individuals to actively participate in the conservation of the Everglades.
During this year’s challenge, 1,050 participants from 35 states (and Belgium!) successfully removed 209 Burmese pythons. The ultimate grand prize of $10,000, provided by INVERSA Leathers, went to Paul Hobbs, who removed 20 pythons. INVERSA is a science-first, conservation-focused materials startup is on a mission to remove invasive species and create beautiful leather for the fashion industry.
Courtesy of the Bergeron Everglades Foundation, Ronald Kiger, the ultimate grand prize runner-up, received $7,500 for removing 14 pythons. Additional sponsorship was provided by Edison National Bank/Bank of the Islands, Broward County, and our Foundation.
The first Burmese python was found in the Florida Everglades in 1979. After decades of breeding and additional illegal releases, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of pythons now roam freely in the cypress swamps and wetlands of the Everglades. Because of their size, pythons have very few predators in Florida with the exception of alligators and humans. Pythons are responsible for killing and eating imperiled mammal species, including the endangered Key Largo woodrat and mangrove fox squirrel. Unfortunately, domestic cats and dogs have fallen prey to the massive misplaced snakes as well.
Learn more about the fight against this invasive species here.