Florida python-killing contest

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Dr. Dark
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Florida python-killing contest

Post by Dr. Dark » December 7th, 2012, 4:51 am

Anyone else seen or heard about this:
http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/06/us/florid ... ?hpt=hp_c2

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 7th, 2012, 5:54 am

Actually not a bad idea, BUT...


They should stipulate that any person presenting any number of snakes which are NOT pythons will be immediately disqualified. Otherwise I foresee thousands of native specimens needlessly killed in a "kill first, ID later" mentality.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gretzkyrh4 » December 7th, 2012, 6:20 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:Actually not a bad idea, BUT...


They should stipulate that any person presenting any number of snakes which are NOT pythons will be immediately disqualified. Otherwise I foresee thousands of native specimens needlessly killed in a "kill first, ID later" mentality.
Yeah, I like the idea except for the issue that the average hunter I've met most places I've lived can't tell a ratsnake from a copperhead, Nerodia sp. from a cottonmouth, or anything from a rattlesnake. I can see a lot of dead pines, indigos, and diamondbacks being turned in as burms as part of this contest.

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Dr. Dark » December 7th, 2012, 6:58 am

I thought of those issues as well. The best fix would be: a.) require a fee to enter, which they are b.) require a "training course" on native vs. non-native snake species, which they seem to be, I think? c.) offer some incentive, which they are d.) stipulate that if you kill any non-python species, not only will you be disqualified, you will be FINED
I doubt they will ever get rid of all the pythons roaming the glades, or even a significant portion of them. But this seems to be a reasonable shot at it. Having 3 state-employed "python hunters" is a complete joke. This plan enlists everyone who wants to "help" (win money) but there HAS to be some penalty for mistakes. There are NO Florida (or US, for that matter) snakes that resemble burmese pythons in the least bit, so "mistaken identity" is no excuse.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jason B » December 7th, 2012, 7:31 am

How do contestants prove their entries are WC?

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Rich in Reptiles
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Rich in Reptiles » December 7th, 2012, 8:44 am

I heard about this..... the problem seriously needs to be taken care of, but it just seems like there is a better way. I'm worried for the native snakes as well- this could do more harm than good if the "hunters" kill other native snakes as well burmese pythons. I am disappointed that they don't heavily emphasise that native snakes must not be disturbed or killed. To some extent, the habitat will also be negitively affected. I wonder what they are going to do with the many dead snakes.... hopefully find some non-wastefull way to dispose of them....

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by BillMcGighan » December 7th, 2012, 10:24 am

All good concerns, but this isn’t FWC’s first rodeo. FWC non-game biologists are a pretty grounded group.
Participants will pay a $25 registration fee and complete an online training course. The training focuses on safety while hunting pythons.

From Rules and Regs
 Only Burmese pythons harvested in the wild from four wildlife management areas(WMAs) - Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, Rotenberger and Big Cypress - are valid entries for the General Competition. The Big Cypress WMA will be available for this purpose only through February 1. Only Python Permit Holders (people holding permits from FWC or other agencies to harvest pythons) can harvest snakes from other state-managed lands as allowed by their permits, and submit them as valid entries for the Python Permit Holders Competition. Road-killed Burmese pythons are not counted towards the competition, but the FWC would like to receive reports of any seen.
You will be disqualified from the competition if you harvest and turn in: 1) a snake not from one of these WMA locations; 2) a native Florida snake; 3) one originally possessed as a pet; or 4) one originally possessed for research or commercial use. Any participant or person who violates any rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or state statutes shall be subject to disqualification from the 2013 Python Challenge™ as well as charged accordingly for said violation.


The ID page shows a Burmese against the natives.



The whole enchilada is here:
http://pythonchallenge.org/registration.aspx

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 7th, 2012, 11:31 am

All good concerns, but this isn’t FWC’s first rodeo. FWC non-game biologists are a pretty grounded group.
I concur, but would just amend/generalize to "FWC biologists". Really experienced, and really grounded.

This contest is a good thing, people.

Informed dissent and constructive criticism are also good things. We just can't set our bar too low for "informed" and "constructive", or we risk damaging good things through outspoken destructive ignorance.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by nhherp » December 7th, 2012, 8:52 pm

I have to wonder if they allow you to keep the meat? one would think if there is a market for Rattlesnak then Burmese could find.a selling point

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by azatrox » December 7th, 2012, 9:14 pm

It's a dog and pony show so the state of Fla can get more money to "combat the problem"...

The burms are there...they're established...they're not going away no matter how many local yocals are out there wielding machetes....

The horses have left long ago...whether you shut the barn door now is largely irrelevant.

Will criminal charges be brought against those that kill protected species (like indigos) or will they get a pass because "they didn't know"?

-Kris

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 8th, 2012, 12:05 am

The problem with a potential beneficial idea is :

Just add Idiots.


Buh-bye Potential.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by rtdunham » December 8th, 2012, 5:52 am

Could somebody start a thread here so people could venture their guesses as to how many will be killed in this contest? I bet the winner comes in in the lower 30% of the estimates.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by BillMcGighan » December 8th, 2012, 6:50 am

It's a dog and pony show so the state of Fla can get more money to "combat the problem"
Well, of course. Whether we want to deal with reality or not, $$$$$ is the necessary evil to get anything done.


These animals are here to stay. They are not going to eradicate this invasive,
but,
stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, this is an possible avenue for lay outdoors people to have a reason to pay some positive attention and learn about the native species. If showing that someone has reached out to hunting groups and cares about some native herps, maybe, just maybe, a few paradigms may be changed; maybe these animals have value.


You can’t protect a resource unless you know it needs protection.

Just add Idiots.
I know this must be true that all hunters are idiots, as all herpers are poachers. :roll: :roll:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 8th, 2012, 7:37 am

Nah...

but an Idiot luv a killin' contest like a fat kid luv cake.

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Dan Krull
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Dan Krull » December 8th, 2012, 7:48 am

I'm organizing a feral cat killing contest for this spring. Please complete the online training for the humane way to dispatch a house cat, and how to tell a housecat from a dog.

First prize is animal cruelty charges.

Dan

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by chrish » December 8th, 2012, 9:05 am

azatrox wrote:Will criminal charges be brought against those that kill protected species (like indigos) or will they get a pass because "they didn't know"?
-Kris
Bill answered this question 3 posts above yours from the rules and regs - yes, the rules state they will be cited for killing native snakes.

I actually like the idea. But then again, I'm OK with Feral Cat roundups and I've always thought the "wild mustangs of the American West" would present a good opportunity for the military to test their helicopter gunships sights. I think those people that catch and neuter feral cats and release them should be neutered themselves so they can't pass their stupidity genes on.

My concern here is that if you make killing a native snake punitive, some of the hunters will kill first, check to see if it is a burm, then throw the body into the bushes if it isn't.

I know USFWS has thought this through thoroughly and I trust that they have considered these contigencies.

My bigger concern is that if, as some people have suggested, this will have no real effect on the population of Burms. In that case we are promoting the Rattlesnake Roundup mentality. "We're out here protecting the public from the dangers these animals present". Once you open this Pandora's box, how do you close it?

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by chrish » December 8th, 2012, 9:07 am

I'm replying again because I just had another thought...

Does this present an opportunity for NAFHA members to get involved representing the institution? You would have to be willing to "harvest" the pythons, but you could also generate a lot of good data in the meantime and be seen as part of the solution rather than as part of the problem. Maybe NAFHA members could volunteer to go out with groups of hunters, or even form hunting parties of their own?

I may post this same question on the NAFHA forum.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 8th, 2012, 9:42 am

chrish wrote:My concern here is that if you make killing a native snake punitive, some of the hunters will kill first, check to see if it is a burm, then throw the body into the bushes if it isn't.
Mine too.
My bigger concern is that if, as some people have suggested, this will have no real effect on the population of Burms. In that case we are promoting the Rattlesnake Roundup mentality. "We're out here protecting the public from the dangers these animals present". Once you open this Pandora's box, how do you close it?
If they can truly keep the program limited to just killing burms, I don't see a problem. On one hand, you have people saying this is useless because we'll never get them all. On the other hand, we've been able to "get all" of other species... Just maybe the collective "we" will be able to at least maintain the population at a much lower level than if left unchecked.

The difference between burms and the rattlesnake roundup mentality is that rattlesnakes aren't an invasive species. In that scenario (and many others), humans are.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Reptiluvr » December 8th, 2012, 10:08 am

I'm shocked there hasn't been a call for a group of forum members to go out there after these Burms. That's good herping with the hopes of also paying for all the gas road cruising and visiting different sites.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by VICtort » December 8th, 2012, 10:55 am

Wow, I thought I was cynical at times, but some of you are real nay-sayers/skeptics. Many thousands of hunters take to the fields and marshes each year, and mostly harvest ethically. A few make mistakes, shooting a hen pheasant, or a cormorant thinking it is a goose, an extra hen mallard, or often talked about livestock instead of a deer...but not commonly. Mostly it is goes pretty well.

It will take a lot skill to be competitive in this contest. There is an entrace fee which will select for serious participants. Some of these folks probably enjoy other competitive outdoor sports, like angling tournaments, and thus they are used to regulations and rules, I see no reason why they can't identify pythons and enter them. It will take skill to win, those folks quite likely have experience and given it a lot of thought, and they will educate other participants. That is the good benefit of competition, it challenges others to achieve. It would be just great if "one of our own" from S. Florida joined in a showed'em how it is done. I look forward to hearing how this goes, I predict it will be tough and low catch per unit of effort.

I simply can't imagine them finding enough of anything in abundance to make a quantifiable impact, but we shall see. Hopefully the benefits derived from this reduction or validation of python presence and data collection will outweigh the negatives of an unlawful take or localized habitat damage from python hunters...

I hope we see and hear of the results. Vic

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by BillMcGighan » December 8th, 2012, 12:20 pm

Many thousands of hunters take to the fields and marshes each year, and mostly harvest ethically.
You're absolutely right Vic. The violators and firearm accidents are news. People see only the worst so perpetuate stereotypes.


My biggest support of these outdoors persons (hunt and fish) is the significant land that has been set aside, which is managed for game, but supports several months in a year where non-game fauna and flora are undisturbed. Much of this, directly or indirectly, goes back to the $$$$$ collected in some form or another for these privileges.

One may argue that row marshes, etc. set up for ducks unlimited for example are not the natural habitat, but even this is better than commercial development.

I've been to several places in the continental U.S. where the habitat looked great, but all land was private and difficult or impossible to access; the exception being land for hunting, fishing, and, in recent years, "rails to trails" type hiking/biking paths.




Oh, and it's only in recent years that states prohibit termination of kitties in the forest.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Mike VanValen » December 8th, 2012, 12:51 pm

You will be disqualified from the competition if you harvest and turn in: 1) a snake not from one of these WMA locations;
Any python taken is a good thing, but how will they seriously know which WMA the snakes came from? They can't.
I have to wonder if they allow you to keep the meat? one would think if there is a market for Rattlesnak then Burmese could find.a selling point
Python meat is, from what I have read, high in mercury and other contaminants.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Scott Waters » December 8th, 2012, 1:00 pm

If NAFHA is officially a part of it (ie; members participate, etc), does that mean there is a pro-kill policy within NAFHA for non-native species? That's quite a mine field.

scott

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Chris Smith » December 8th, 2012, 1:31 pm

Scott Waters wrote:If NAFHA is officially a part of it (ie; members participate, etc), does that mean there is a pro-kill policy within NAFHA for non-native species? That's quite a mine field.

scott
Correct me if I am wrong but a few NAFHA members have openly admitted to killing bullfrogs in CA (another invasive)...

No one "likes" killing (at least no one sane), but invasive species control is an important tool commonly used in conservation (a necessary evil when dealing with invasive animals IMO). Now turning it into a contest opens the door for all sort of discussion, but you have to try it to know if it will work...

Just my 2-cents,
Chris

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Phil Peak
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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 8th, 2012, 3:06 pm

No thanks! The very idea of this is ridiculous. I sure hope that all the good herpers feel good as they chop up the snakes since this is all this is. A "feel good" measure since we all want to be good little naturalists and pat each other on the back and tell each other how environmentally aware we are and that we're Stewards of the Great Outdoors!

They are there and they will continue to be there despite how many are removed. Now we'll have south Florida covered with local Jeds chomping at the bit to get in on some of the action. They may want to call Animal Planet and see if a new reality series can be scripted out of this lunacy.

If the NAFHA participates in this I have no interest in EVER associated with that group again.

Of all the environmental problems that south Florida has, the snake guys really want to target an invasive snake?? Damn, the raccoons are finally in check and everyones bitching..

Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Scott Waters » December 8th, 2012, 3:24 pm

They may want to call Animal Planet and see if a new reality series can be scripted out of this lunacy.They may want to call Animal Planet and see if a new reality series can be scripted out of this lunacy.
Already in the works, I'm sure of it.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by squinn » December 8th, 2012, 4:52 pm

I really don't get the whole assumption people will kill everything that slithers during this "hunt" i've never gone in the woods looking for squirrel and came back with a skunk, or gone frog gigging and came back with a salamander I have to assume the average human being participating in this venture can tell the difference between a rat snake and a burmese python if they putting forth the effort to participate in a hunt they will at least know what their quarry looks like.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by John Williams » December 8th, 2012, 8:28 pm

Great post Phil.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gbin » December 8th, 2012, 8:47 pm

Chris Smith wrote:No one "likes" killing (at least no one sane), but invasive species control is an important tool commonly used in conservation (a necessary evil when dealing with invasive animals IMO). Now turning it into a contest opens the door for all sort of discussion, but you have to try it to know if it will work...
I concur on all accounts, except in referring to the killing as a necessary evil. Everything living dies sooner or later, and that's actually a good thing. (Think about what would happen otherwise!) Most deaths in nature, too, are quite unpleasant. Putting a bullet, machete or some (very targeted) poison into animals of a harmful invasive species is treating them pretty gently in comparison.

I think this program could work a lot better than many might expect it to.

Gerry

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Daryl Eby » December 8th, 2012, 9:22 pm

I have no problem with invasive snakes being killed. We should try and support responsible efforts to do so. After reviewing the FWCs info on this, I think it is a net positive. As for any comparisons between this and a rattlesnake round-up ... there is none. Round-up victims are native, abused for days (or longer), and killed for entertainment and profit. The Florida pythons are invasive and will be killed quickly for preservation of native wildlife.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by rtdunham » December 8th, 2012, 9:51 pm

chrish wrote:
azatrox wrote:Will criminal charges be brought against those that kill protected species (like indigos) or will they get a pass because "they didn't know"?
-Kris
Bill answered this question 3 posts above yours from the rules and regs - yes, the rules state they will be cited for killing native snakes.
I thought the rules were more vague than that, talking only about protected species. Aren't there any number of native species that'll be cohabiting there that are not protected by the state?

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 9th, 2012, 3:11 am

chrish wrote:
I've always thought the "wild mustangs of the American West" would present a good opportunity for the military to test their helicopter gunships sights.

Is that so ?.. very uh, interesting. So wait a minute i want to get it right, cause sometimes i dont 'get' stuff, so if i understand you correctly you are saying that with a multi billion dollar training budget, in your mind, of all things, you think that the US military should be shooting at horses to keep up to snuff ??

Horses huh? How about Giant Squids? Or hi def lifesized halograms of horses and squids?

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by azatrox » December 9th, 2012, 7:18 am

Personally, I have no issue with invasive species being killed, so long as it is done humanely.

My primary concern here is the "collateral damage" done to native species due to ignorance. If Fla can ensure that everyone that gets a permit can properly ID a Burm and will be held accountable for killing native species, then go for it. I kind of doubt they realistically can make such assurances though...

-Kris

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gbin » December 9th, 2012, 8:02 am

I would imagine that at least some collateral damage will indeed occur - even experienced deer hunters have been known to accidentally shoot cows (and each other), after all - but it doesn't seem to me that a "no collateral damage whatsoever" standard is reasonable. The proper scale on which to weigh this question, I believe, is "will more damage to non-target species occur due to this program than the pythons removed via this program would themselves have caused?" It seems extremely likely to me that the answer is a resounding "no!" Each one of those snakes can be counted on to convert an awful lot of animals of native species into getting bigger and producing still more snakes.

Gerry

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 9th, 2012, 8:14 am

azatrox wrote:Personally, I have no issue with invasive species being killed, so long as it is done humanely.

My primary concern here is the "collateral damage" done to native species due to ignorance. If Fla can ensure that everyone that gets a permit can properly ID a Burm and will be held accountable for killing native species, then go for it. I kind of doubt they realistically can make such assurances though...

-Kris

Agreed and Exactly.
It will be a crass mess as usual

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by JBBoiler » December 9th, 2012, 8:15 am

Why not change the rules just a little by stating that all snakes must be brought in alive? No need to train on the humane killing of the snakes and the Florida Wildlife officials can obtain data on them, while sparing any native species and take care of the humane killing themselves. This would bring in people like Phil and maybe even prevent a few people from taking a machete to everything they see. I understand this may make it a bit more difficult to bring in a 15 foot burm, however, most will be nowhere near that size.

JB

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by joeysgreen » December 9th, 2012, 8:32 am

I don't know why people are so negative about the thought about controling the burmese python population. Hasn't there been tonnes of scenerios where the combination of collectors and "hunters" (aka snake haters), have decimated local native snake populations? With incentive, humans are pretty good at coming together and killing things.

My home province of Alberta is considered "rat free", and has been for decades. Certainly there are odd cases of rat findings in dumps or alley-ways but as far as agricultural and ecological impact is concerned, we don't have this invasive animal. I like this python contest. If I had any critisism it might be for the time of year. Aren't they mostly in hiding during the winter? Would March be a better option? Heck, why not have it a monthly contest year-round? There's potential to make a decent income at this, which means you'd end up with a new crowd of experienced python hunters.

To add to JB's post; you can't expect people to bring in live snakes; especially the large ones. A dead snake can be tossed into a truck bed. A live one needs to be bagged, bucketed, crated... you're going to run into safety issues as well as reducing the number of snakes caught.

Ian

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 9th, 2012, 8:37 am

From the official website http://www.pythonchallenge.org/:

(Bold is my emphasis)
Increasing public awareness about Burmese pythons and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife, is the goal of the 2013 Python Challenge™.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners are launching the 2013 Python Challenge™ to enlist both the general public and python permit holders in a month-long harvest of Burmese pythons. The public also is invited to two free educational and exciting events in south Florida:

The 2013 Python Challenge™ Kickoff on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie.
The 2013 Python Challenge™ Awareness and Awards Event on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Zoo Miami.
Here's some more text about the public events:
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.
So here's what I'm curious about - why are some people here talking about what it isn't (e.g., a doomed-to-failure eradication operation), instead of talking about what it is?

Jimi

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by muskiemagnet » December 9th, 2012, 8:58 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:Actually not a bad idea, BUT...


They should stipulate that any person presenting any number of snakes which are NOT pythons will be immediately disqualified. Otherwise I foresee thousands of native specimens needlessly killed in a "kill first, ID later" mentality.

my friend and i have discussed putting a bounty on them. the problem of natives inadvertently killed would need to be considered. partaking in an educational ID course should be required. also helping individuals understand ecological balance, and why the snakes need to go away should also be made a requirement. i fear that a bunch of bone-heads may take to the fields to ride a high of just killing stuff for money. education needs to be impressed upon participants.

i think it is a good idea. florida will learn at the beginning, and tweak the program as needed.

-ben

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 9th, 2012, 10:09 am

To me, this whole idea is absurd. From what I understand the experts tend to agree that the pythons are there to stay despite whatever attempts may be put in place to erradicate them. So why feed the blood lust that the snake killing public already has?

IMO all this program will result in is a number of dead pythons which isn't going to have any real effect on curbing the existing population, and an untold number of slaughtered native snakes along the way. I wonder how many of the good ole boys wanting a piece of the action will swerve to miss an EDB or Indigo crossing the road?

All this does is feed the hysteria which is already out of control!

Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Scott Waters » December 9th, 2012, 10:29 am

Oh man, you guys will be a gold mine for the media. I know, I am a tv news photographer of almost 25 years. They will take your awesome shots and video of "giant" pythons and run with it. Then the agencies will get a hard on as they drink your milk shake, my fellow herpers.

The other thing is that your efforts won't do anything to stop the burms. You know this, you're smarter than that aren't you? The weather will handle that (their own studies have proven it), but you will see yourselves as more powerful than the weather and participate in a media circus that will ultimately hurt your own interests. But man will it add to the fear factor and give the media an arsenal of new b-roll......you and your "giant" pythons. You think the agencies are going to let that shot(s) of piles of "giant" pythons (that you'll be turning in for some cash) NOT be used by the media? LOL You're quite naive if you think that image won't be shared to every media outlet they can reach. And tell me, how does that help the animals or herpers? Or anything? Well, via the Bill O'Reilly style of things it will make you "feel good", though.

You're being used for something that will not help anything other than interests that don't give a damn about you, my friends. Enjoy.

Scott

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gbin » December 9th, 2012, 1:26 pm

It seems to be a common perception here that because we presently have no way to get rid of all of the pythons in south FL, then we shouldn't bother trying to get rid of any of them. That perception makes no sense whatsoever to me. Putting entirely aside the fact that what's possible changes with the times (i.e. we might ultimately develop a 100% effective means of eradicating them, you never know), there are in fact very many instances where folks work to control threats to wildlife and wild lands even though those threats can't be outright eradicated, and such control efforts can actually be quite effective. I see no reason to believe that some kind of bounty hunting scheme (be it set up as a contest or whatever) can't be used to reduce the number of pythons - especially the number of large pythons, which eat a lot of native wildlife and produce a lot of offspring - even if it could never be counted on to eliminate them entirely.

Gerry

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 9th, 2012, 1:42 pm

gbin wrote:It seems to be a common perception here that because we presently have no way to get rid of all of the pythons in south FL, then we shouldn't bother trying to get rid of any of them. That perception makes no sense whatsoever to me. Putting entirely aside the fact that what's possible changes with the times (i.e. we might ultimately develop a 100% effective means of eradicating them, you never know), there are in fact very many instances where folks work to control threats to wildlife and wild lands even though those threats can't be outright eradicated, and such control efforts can actually be quite effective. I see no reason to believe that some kind of bounty hunting scheme (be it set up as a contest or whatever) can't be used to reduce the number of pythons - especially the number of large pythons, which eat a lot of native wildlife and produce a lot of offspring - even if it could never be counted on to eliminate them entirely.

Gerry

I have a better idea. Why not put forth our efforts in eradicating feral hogs? These invasives are well documented in trashing habitat and gobbling down native herps. Feral cats would be a nice option as well.

I'm puzzled why so many herpers seem to be so preoccupied with pythons in Florida when there are so many real threats to our native herpetofauna to set our sights upon.


Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Daryl Eby » December 9th, 2012, 2:33 pm

Phil Peak wrote:I'm puzzled why so many herpers seem to be so preoccupied with pythons in Florida when there are so many real threats to our native herpetofauna to set our sights upon.l
Call me a dreamer, but perhaps our calls for controlling popular invasives (like cats) and generally accepted invasives (like hogs) would be taken more seriously if we could agree to help "save the planet" by supporting efforts to control the invasive species that tug at our heart strings. At the very least, it is hypocritical for us to complain about failure to control mammalian invasives while simultaneously complaining about attempts to control reptilian invasives.

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gbin » December 9th, 2012, 2:45 pm

Phil Peak wrote:I have a better idea. Why not put forth our efforts in eradicating feral hogs? These invasives are well documented in trashing habitat and gobbling down native herps. Feral cats would be a nice option as well.

I'm puzzled why so many herpers seem to be so preoccupied with pythons in Florida when there are so many real threats to our native herpetofauna to set our sights upon.


Phil
Why view things so narrowly?

Efforts are made to control feral hogs (they're another invasive exotic we can't reasonably eradicate at present), and I'm all for increasing those efforts, too. Likewise feral cats. It's not a case of doing either this or that, especially when one is talking about something such as a bounty hunting system, which can be very cost effective given that it relies on the labor of a whole bunch of motivated non-staff.

Too, and I can't express this strongly enough, I care about all wildlife and wild lands, not just herpetofauna. Frankly, it's always puzzled me deeply that this isn't true of all of us here who are concerned about conservation. Folks do understand that their favorite species are only parts of an integrated whole, right? And that all of the other parts matter, too? Otherwise one might as well just establish a captive population for whatever species and declare it "saved" thereby.

Gerry

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 9th, 2012, 2:53 pm

Daryl Eby wrote:
Phil Peak wrote:I'm puzzled why so many herpers seem to be so preoccupied with pythons in Florida when there are so many real threats to our native herpetofauna to set our sights upon.l
Call me a dreamer, but perhaps our calls for controlling popular invasives (like cats) and generally accepted invasives (like hogs) would be taken more seriously if we could agree to help "save the planet" by supporting efforts to control the invasive species that tug at our heart strings. At the very least, it is hypocritical for us to complain about failure to control mammalian invasives while simultaneously complaining about attempts to control reptilian invasives.
You have a lot more faith than I do Daryl. At this point I would think that we're all aware that hogs, cats and dogs will likely never be addressed regardless of what actions we take, and I also believe it is accurate to say they are far more destructive than the pythons in Florida are. Yeah, I think its fair to call you a dreamer.

Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 9th, 2012, 3:10 pm

gbin wrote:
Phil Peak wrote:I have a better idea. Why not put forth our efforts in eradicating feral hogs? These invasives are well documented in trashing habitat and gobbling down native herps. Feral cats would be a nice option as well.

I'm puzzled why so many herpers seem to be so preoccupied with pythons in Florida when there are so many real threats to our native herpetofauna to set our sights upon.


Phil
Why view things so narrowly?

Efforts are made to control feral hogs (they're another invasive exotic we can't reasonably eradicate at present), and I'm all for increasing those efforts, too. Likewise feral cats. It's not a case of doing either this or that, especially when one is talking about something such as a bounty hunting system, which can be very cost effective given that it relies on the labor of a whole bunch of motivated non-staff.

Too, and I can't express this strongly enough, I care about all wildlife and wild lands, not just herpetofauna. Frankly, it's always puzzled me deeply that this isn't true of all of us here who are concerned about conservation. Folks do understand that their favorite species are only parts of an integrated whole, right? And that all of the other parts matter, too? Otherwise one might as well just establish a captive population for whatever species and declare it "saved" thereby.

Gerry

I find it ironic that you state that I am viewing things so narrowly when the subject at hand is a singular population of non-native pythons in south Florida. It was I that broadened the discussion by introducing the topic of feral hogs, cats and dogs which indeed represent a more widespread and destructive property than the pythons could ever be.

Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by gbin » December 9th, 2012, 4:10 pm

And again, I'll simply point out that it need not -and I firmly believe should not - be viewed as an either/or situation. You seemed to somehow miss that point. ;)

Gerry

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 9th, 2012, 4:23 pm

gbin wrote:And again, I'll simply point out that it need not -and I firmly believe should not - be viewed as an either/or situation. You seemed to somehow miss that point. ;)

Gerry
I'm not arguing either/or, but rather pointing out that we should choose our battles wisely.

I see way more downside to this south FL python killing adventure than upside. At the same time, I can think of more productive ways for those that are truly interested in conservation to spend their time and resources.

Phil

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Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by luv_the_smellof_musk » December 9th, 2012, 5:39 pm

I don't live near the everglades, so forgive me if this is already common knowledge, but how does anyone know the pythons are causing population declines of other species? Has this been triangulated by multiple study methods? I remember reading something about some people reporting they saw less mammals and more pythons but that seems like a rather weak correlation? Isn't it possible something else happened around the same time? For which species are Pythons the greatest conservation threat? If any money is spent on this project (communications, monitoring, etc), how does that compare to other avenues of conservation and protection? I think everyone could agree that pythons will cause some change in the region, but I am wondering if there is any compelling evidence to believe it's a greater threat than other issues time and energy could be devoted toward. I'm neither for or against the idea, but I am simply concerned it's not the greatest conservation need and may divert energy that could be used for higher priority items... similar to how some people worry about collectors on a property that ends up bulldozed anyway.

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