Everglades National Park included in next 'Python Challenge' - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Everglades National Park included in next 'Python Challenge'

PICTURE GBY FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION PICTURE GBY FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities are expanding Florida's next public hunt for invasive Burmese pythons into Everglades National Park.

The "Python Challenge " will run from Jan. 16 through Feb. 14. The national park was excluded from the 2013 contest that drew 1,600 participants but netted only 68 pythons.

Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos said in a statement Tuesday that authorities hope the expanded access prompts more people to participate in programs that would allow them to remove pythons year-round from the park and state lands.

Training events are planned to teach registered participants how to identify and capture pythons. State wildlife commissioner Ron Bergeron said officials hope the hunt increases python sightings and removals in the wetlands.

Scientists say thousands of pythons are to blame for the decline of native wildlife across Florida's Everglades.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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