FWC holds training sessions for participants interested in Python Challenge

Reporter: Jennifer Jones
Published: Updated:

NAPLES, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2016 Python Challenge is just weeks away.

“The detectability rate of Burmese pythons in the wild is almost zero,” said Sarah Funck with FWC.

Funck says that’s why FWC officials are holding training sessions to help participants find, identify, and locate the pythons.

“We want a public engaged, that’s really well-trained, that’s really well-educated and knows how to do safe capture, how to do humane capture.”

Thursday morning, FWC’s training began with a classroom presentation followed by an outdoor, hands-on session where an expert explained how to safely capture Burmese pythons.

“They’re very well camouflaged, they’re very elusive and of course, they’re spread throughout a relatively large area. So the time that it takes to actually locate one is, average 15 hours per person,” said Funck.

The importance of the upcoming competition is to remove the invasive species because of its harmful effect on the environment.

“The Burmese python is certainly with that description. It’s important to remove them to protect our native wildlife and and natural resources.”

FWC is holding a training session Sunday in Fort Myers and one in East Naples next month. They are free and available for anyone interested.

The Python Challenge will take place from January 16- February 14. The grand prizes are $5,000 for the group category and $3,500 for the individual category.

For more information, visit: pythonchallenge.org.

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