However, some reptiles do not belong there and pose a threat to native wildlife. To address this, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is teaming up with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to bring back the Python Challenge™ in January 2016. This exciting conservation effort will help protect the rare Everglades ecosystem and the animals that live there from these invasive, nonnative snakes.
In the early winter of 2013, nearly 1,600 participants in the first Python Challenge™ trekked through more than a million acres of swamps and sawgrass in search of the well-camouflaged Burmese python. Dedicated competitors removed 68 snakes from the Everglades ecosystem — the most ever removed for a similar time period. As important as the removal of these snakes was, the Python Challenge™ also brought international awareness to the challenges Florida is facing with Burmese pythons and other invasive species. The Python Challenge™ also proved to be an unprecedented opportunity to gather data about these snakes and their impacts on the ecosystem.