MIAMI – Hunters have killed 500 Burmese pythons during an elimination program in the Florida Everglades.
Officials who are overseeing the program said that Miami snake hunter Jason Leon killed the 500th python -- a 7-foot (2-meter) snake -- Thursday morning. It was his second kill since the Python Elimination Program began March 25.
The South Florida Water Management District hired hunters to remove the voracious snakes from the Everglades. Researchers say the snakes are decimating populations of native mammals and pose a threat to the Everglades restoration efforts.
The hunters are independent contractors who are paid $8.10 an hour to track and kill pythons. They earn a $50 bonus for pythons that measure up to 4 feet (1 meter) and $25 for each additional foot.