I take exception to the April 20 article Scientist: Florida python hunt didn’t help control the threat.
The ultimate goal of the 2013 Python Challenge was not to remove large numbers of snakes from the environment, but to raise the public’s awareness of the danger of importing, selling and releasing non-native species. As a result of the challenge, millions of people heard about the challenges of importing and releasing non-native species into Florida’s natural habitat.
The 68 snakes taken from the Everglades ecosystem is the largest amount ever removed for a similar period that time of year. Data collected was used by researchers at the University of Florida.
Many people said their reason for participating was direct engagement in conservation and to get to know the Everglades.
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Building on that foundation, the 2016 Python Challenge will continue to increase public awareness about Burmese pythons and provide comprehensive training and education, plus an opportunity for the public to be a part of the process of managing invasive wildlife.
Rodney Barreto, chairman, Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Miami