Monday, August 19, 2019

The Women Python Hunters of Florida

Beth Koehler and Peggy van Gorder, the subjects of the article.
Click for photo credit.
I have been documenting some of the more interesting python stories from Florida over the last decade (check out these links here, here, and here). In a nutshell, Burmese pythons are an exotic species that started to take over the Everglades over the last few decades. The situation became a crisis when ecologists realized that many of the region's mammals were disappearing. The pythons significantly disrupted the complex food web of much of south Florida. Plus, the pythons have been expanding their territory northward and have been found in the Tampa and Orlando areas.

A fascinating article by Chris Urso, Craig Pittman, and James Borchuck in the Tampa Bay Times, documents the on the ground experience of paid python hunters who are trying to get rid of the python problem. The specific focus of the article is on two women who by day own a dog grooming business but at night work as python hunters in the Everglades region. They not only encounter pythons, but also alligators, panthers, crawling walking sticks, swarms of mosquitos, and even a reality TV star. Check out the article. It's worth a read.

Hunting pythons doesn't pay much, but it does provide a bit of adventure and helps the local ecosystem of South Florida. The wily pythons hide quite well and I am not sure how effective the local hunts are at trying to solve the problem. However, it sure can't hurt to get rid of any specimen of this exotic and troublesome species from the Everglades.

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