UF researchers studying Burmese pythons
University of Florida researchers are analyzing the Burmese pythons harvested as part of Florida’s “Python Challenge.” According to the event website, the purpose of the challenge is to raise public awareness about Burmese pythons and the threat they pose to the Everglades ecosystem.
The challenge began Jan. 12, and more than two dozen pythons have been killed and UF experts are using them for research. Researchers said the large number of hunters will help them gather more information about the snakes.
Dr. Frank Mazzotti, a UF wildlife ecology professor, said his team is in charge of species management, meaning all of the snakes caught during the challenge will be brought to them for research.
He and his team will be using samples taken from the necropsies to address questions regarding genetics and contaminants they could be carrying and further diet studies.
Though the researchers are currently working with 27 snakes, they are expecting more when the challenge ends on Feb. 10. They are waiting until the challenge is over to make any certain analysis about the python’s effect on Florida’s native wildlife.
Additional updates on the number of snakes harvested will be posted on the Python Challenge website.
More Stories in Environment
From March 16-29, a large portion of McLemore Road on Gores Landing WMA is closed due to recent rainfall and flooding conditions. Unfortunately for hunters, the closure of the road in this typical turkey habitat overlaps with the spring turkey hunting season, from March 21-29.
In efforts to promote a healthy forest ecosystem, burners at the Welaka State Forest and Etoniah Creek State Forest have been busy creating prescribed burns. The planned fires help to reduce potential fuel for unplanned forest fires and cycle nutrients back into the forest.
Florida wildlife officials have boosted their efforts against Burmese pythons by inviting the public to join the fight, but some researchers and breeders disagree on the severity of the python problem.
University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences was awarded about $13.4 million to help fund four research projects aimed at finding a solution to citrus greening.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosts the first statewide nonnative fish catch. The contest was created to raise awareness and help reduce the growing population of invasive fish species in Florida’s waters.