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Gazette Premium Content Florida won't repeat public python hunt

The Associated Press Updated: November 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

MIAMI — Florida won't be repeating a public hunt meant to reduce the population of invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

The state-sponsored Python Challenge attracted roughly 1,600 hunters in January and February and made headlines worldwide. It netted 68 of the snakes, the longest measuring more than 14 feet.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman said Monday that the hunt met the agency's primary goal of raising awareness about the python problem, and there will not be another hunt next year.

Instead, the state is beefing up established programs that train licensed hunters and people who regularly work in areas known to contain pythons to kill or report exotic snakes.

Researchers say the snakes, which aren't native to Florida, are eating wildlife at an alarming rate and don't have natural predators in the state.

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