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May 17, 2017

SFWMD Python Hunters Surpass 100 Snakes Eliminated

Python Hunter Kyle Penniston captured the 100th snake eliminated by the SFWMD Governing Board's Python Elimination Program. In two landmark days of success hunters captured seven snakes to bring the total number to 102 snakes eliminated.

Homestead, FL - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board's Python Elimination Program continued its milestone success this week, with seven snakes eliminated in two days. This brings the total number of the invasive predators killed to 102 snakes in just 53 days.
On the night of Monday, May 15, four of the invasive predators were killed and three more were eliminated Tuesday night. The snakes eliminated during the last two nights include:
 
Number 96: Tom Rahill, of Plantation, and killed a 15-foot 4-inch snake on the banks of the L-30 Canal off Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County. This was the fourth snake captured by Rahill, who is also head of the Swamp Apes group that leads veterans on snake hunts to combat stress. Click on the image to see larger version.
 
Number 97: Jamison Meyer, of Cutler Bay, killed a 6-foot snake on the banks of the L-31 Canal in western Miami-Dade County south of Tamiami Trail. This is the 14th snake captured by Meyer, who has more than 30 years of experience hunting in the Everglades, including more than eight years of experience hunting pythons. Click on the image to see larger version.
 

Number 98 and Number 99: Michael Valcarce, of Miami, killed a 6-foot and a 5-foot 6-inch snake on the L-28 Canal. Valcare has the most kills with 19 snakes eliminated. Click on image to see larger version.

 
Number 100: Kyle Penniston, of Homestead, captured the milestone 100th snake, a 4-foot-long python killed on the banks of the C-111 Canal in South Miami-Dade County. Penniston has killed more than 20 pythons in the last three years. Click on the image to see larger version.

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Number 101: The only female hunter participating in the Python Elimination Program, Donna Kalil of Miami, killed an approximately 7-foot-long snake along the L-28 Tieback Canal. Kalil has been hunting snakes in the Everglades since she was 8 years old. Click on the image to see larger version.
 

Number 102: Hunter Nicholas Banos, of Coral Springs, captured the 102nd python, a 7-foot-long snake captured along the L-67 Canal in western Miami-Dade County. Banos has eliminated more than 50 pythons since 2012 through various hunting programs. Click on the image to see larger version.
 
So far, 102 pythons measuring a combined length of more than 930 feet, the equivalent of more than two and a half football fields, have been eliminated from the Everglades by SFWMD python hunters. That is an average of nearly two snakes killed per day.
At least 40 percent of the snakes eliminated have been females, many found with 30 to 80 eggs inside that were also destroyed. This prevented the birth of more than 1,500 more of the invasive predators this year alone.
About the Python Elimination Program
SFWMD chose 25 professional python hunters from 1,000 hunters who applied. These independent contractors are paid $8.10 per hour up to eight hours daily. Depending on the size of the snake presented, there is an additional on-the-spot cash payment of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet and an extra $25 for each foot measured above 4 feet. An additional $100 is given for each eliminated python nest with eggs. 
To date, the Python Elimination Program has paid out approximately $17,000 in bounties and $18,000 in hourly fees for an average cost of less than $400 per snake eliminated.
Each python would have eaten dozens of native animals such as blue herons, rabbits and wrens over the next several years. These invasive predators have been decimating native populations that are crucial to the Everglades habitat. The elimination of 102 snakes will potentially save more than 15,000 native animals and help save the Everglades.
The pilot program began on March 25 and will run until June 1.
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Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |  rrsmith@sfwmd.gov   |  Office: 561-682-2800  |  Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida's water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

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