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In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

Biologist's Snake Study Aids Fight Against Invasive Pythons

Few animals arouse the instinct to hunt quite like the Burmese Python. The invasive species has slithered across the Everglades and into every corner of South Florida, taking over habitat from native species and consuming thousands of pounds of prey animals. 

Their presence has been met with sanctioned “Python Challenges” where hunters wade into the swamps to compete for bragging rights as to who killed the most snakes. Irula Tribesmen have been brought in from India to track and kill the invasive predators. And just last month, the South Florida Water Management District announced it would pay python hunters—by the foot—for the Burmese they bag.

But some conservationists say trying to hunt the snake to extinction in Florida will be a losing battle unless research is done to find out where and how they nest and breed, where they move, and how they behave in South Florida.

Thursday at 1:30 p.m., wildlife biologist Ian Bartoszek about what he’s learned in tracking Burmese pythons across the Everglades. He’ll explain why hunting to kill the animals won’t really help to get ahead of the booming snake population, even if it viscerally feels like progress.

Also joining the program is Tim Tezlaff, director of conservation at the Naples Zoo, about a python program Thursday evening where the public is invited to learn more about the python tracking program and efforts to understand the invasive predatory snake.

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