U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the lawmaker who initiated the federal python ban, will join the hunt for the snakes in the Florida Everglades.
According to Nelson's office, the senator will hunt the invasive snakes on Thursday with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Ron Bergeron and a researcher from the University of Florida.
“These snakes don’t belong in the Everglades,” Nelson said in a statement. “They’re causing real problems in one of Florida’s greatest treasures.”
The Python Challenge is supported by the FWC, UF and the South Florida Water Management District, and it was designed to get the public involved to control the snakes.
The challenge, which officially began Saturday, is the latest in a series of measures aimed at addressing the invasive snakes, which are believed to have been introduced to the swamps of Florida by pet owners who released the imported reptiles into the wild.
“We’ve got the policies in place to help correct the problem, between the state’s regulations and the federal rules that Sen. Nelson helped pushed through,” Bergeron said. “Now it’s time for boots on the ground. It’s a great thing the state is doing here.”