Don’t Pay Hunters to Trample Protected Land and Kill Reptile Species

Target: Rodney Barreto, Commissioner of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Goal: Stop glamorizing competitive killing of pythons and ensure humane removals.

The Florida Python Challenge has entered another year. During this period that lasts around two weeks, hunters and trappers are paid to remove pythons from the Florida Everglades. These snakes are a dangerous invasive species that can put mammals and other reptiles at risk. Are the bounties placed on their heads truly the best and most humane means of conservation, however?

For one, killing these living beings has recently become akin to a grotesque game. Hunters in the current contest are given a grand prize for whoever scores the most “kills.” Previous versions of these competitions have even rewarded separate prizes based on the longest snakes removed or even upped prizes if the pythons are breeding females. These animals had no choice in where they ended up, as the species was first introduced through release by humans. Their deaths should not be made into a sport simply because they are following their natural instincts.

In addition, while the state agencies say they emphasize humane euthanizing, hunters are not penalized for killing these animals in more violent and hurtful ways. Removal while preserving the animal’s life, or at the very least humane treatment, should be a requirement. And finally, state authorities may be using these snake hunts as an excuse to open up protected wildlands to exploitation by humans. The governor is already trying to grant snake hunters increased access to a national wetlands preserve.

Sign the petition below to demand the agency tasked with protecting all wildlife rethink and revamp an initiative that gleefully encourages slaughter.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner,

The Python Elimination Program, the Python Action Team, the Python Challenge, and similar efforts to remove invasive Burmese pythons may have begun with good intentions. With reform, they may still yet carry forward a positive legacy of animal conservation. Python removal in Florida as it stands now, however, has seemingly become little more than a blood sport.

This cull should have never been made into a competition, and a conservation agency should never be boasting about how it pays out grand cash prizes to the biggest executioner of a species. News reports are already proudly talking about how the latest Challenge will reward the hunter with the most “kills.” These animals arrived in Florida through no fault of their own, and they should be afforded the compassionate treatment granted any other living being.

Humane and, if at all possible, live removal should not be recommendations. They should be requirements. Perhaps more crucially, do not advocate for giving any hunter an open-door policy to federally protected lands. Such a move creates a very dangerous slippery slope for Florida’s conservation future.

Please end the exploitative Florida Python Challenge and find a better way that safeguards all animals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Susanne Jutzeler

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4 Comments

  1. So once again, Miss Tiff, you’re on the wrong side of the issue. These things are not native to our country and are an absolute disaster to our native wildlife. I suppose you think that eliminating our native species is a good thing? I personally believe that it doesn’t make a tinker’s damn how we get rid of these monsters just so long as we ABSOLUTELY DO get rid of them!

  2. The only good hunter is a dead one. Hunt the hunters and turn these evil cretins into fertiliser.

  3. Rodney Barreto, Commissioner of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    Stop glamorizing competitive killing of pythons and ensure humane removals.

    I agree with your comment Michell Taylor.

    “The only good hunter is a dead one. Hunt the hunters and turn these evil cretins into fertiliser”

  4. KILL ALL HUNTERS!!!!NO MERCY FOR ANIMAL MURDERERS!!

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