Florida trappers caught a 15-foot Burmese python over the weekend. The catch is part of a new program designed to tackle the Everglades’ python problem.
Nicholas Banos and Leonardo Sanchez are among the 25 trappers selected to take aggressive action against the invasive pythons, CNN reports. “The program will give participants unprecedented access to (South Florida Water Management District) lands in an effort to remove these destructive snakes, which have become an apex predator in the Everglades,” the program’s website explains.
Florida men catch 15-foot long, 144-pound python in the Everglades #News2
— barrett kennedy (@barrettjkennedy) April 4, 2017
Trappers participating in the Pilot Python Elimination Program are paid an hourly minimum wage. They then receive bonuses for catching pythons. Each python that measures up to four feet nets $50.
Trappers receive $25 for each foot above four. A trapper who catches an eight-foot python would earn $150. There’s a $100 bonus for catching a python guarding eggs.
“Native animals, deer, raccoons, whatever it is, birds ... they're disappearing. They're disappearing, and it's because of the python," Sanchez told CNN and WSVN.
“We're not hunting to kill. We hunt to remove. Catch and remove. But having to kill it was a little rough for us. We've never really had to do that before. So, it was satisfying but it was also a feeling of ... a little bit of heartbreak,” Banos added.
Last week hunter Barry Offenburger killed the first three pythons through the program. Those pythons measured 13, 8.2 and 6.8 feet. See the video of those three pythons above.