Congressman Francis Rooney Announces Burmese Python Battle for the Everglades

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WashingtonCongressman Francis Rooney Announces Burmese Python Battle for the Everglades, July 17, 2017 | Chris Berardi (202-897-7700) | comments

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney announced that he will take part in the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) ‘Python Elimination Program’ on August 10, 2017 in Big Cypress Swamp.

Congressman Rooney stated, “I am looking forward to hunting these devastating and invasive snakes. The python is a predator impacting the delicate balance of the ecosystem across the Everglades and the State of Florida.  Innovative ideas such as the Python Elimination Program incentivize members of the public to assist in removing this invasive species and remind us that we all have a vested interest in restoring the Everglades.” 

“The python hunt also attracts national attention to all the issues affecting the Everglades, including necessary funding and completion of CERP projects which are so critical to restoration efforts,” the Congressman said.  “I am employing every means available to work toward solutions that will solve our water quality issues in the quickest and most efficient means possible.”

Dan O’Keefe, SFWMD Governing Board Chairman, welcomed the Congressman to the program, “Joining this hunt is a worthy challenge. Having also experienced the program firsthand by participating in a live hunt, I cannot say enough about the tremendous work of our bounty hunters working long hours and enduring the harsh summer elements to rid the Everglades of this destructive python threat. “

"Eliminating one snake from the Everglades is much more than a single kill.” O’Keefe explained, “It's the prevention of 40 to 50 more snakes by destroying a large female carrying 40 to 50 eggs; and, it's the countless number of native Florida animals spared from the jaws of these killing-machines."

Background:

The purpose of the Python Elimination Program is to eliminate the invasive Burmese Python which damages the Everglades ecosystem and its native wildlife. 

  • The SFWMD is taking aggressive action to protect the Everglades and eliminate invasive pythons. The SFWMD Governing Board has renewed the Python Elimination Program after the pilot phase eliminated 158 pythons over a timespan of just over two months. The program has now expanded to include Broward and Collier counties, as previously hunting was only allowed in Miami-Dade County. Bounties attached to each snake eliminated incentivize hunters to spend time tracking, finding and killing these destructive snakes.
  • Invasive Burmese pythons not only pose a threat to humans, but also rob the Everglades of native species, including panthers, birds of prey, alligators and bobcats of a primary food source.
  • The Florida Congressional delegation has now signed a letter, led by Congressman Rooney, sent to President Trump. This letter called on the President to support Everglades Restoration projects in his fiscal year 2018 Budget.
  • Congressman Rooney has met with President Trump to discuss funding for Everglades restoration efforts and is a member of both the Everglades and Estuary Caucus. He has testified four times on water quality issues.

 

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