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

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


48 Comments

  1. as usual if we want it take it! hurt or kill whatever stands in the way. i guess people are failing to see the parallels between what we are doing to animals and to other humans as well. really a sad bunch!

  2. Michelle Stewart says:

    This is not a sport. They just say it is to kill hundreds or thousands of animals. It is cruel and barbaric and must be stopped immediately. It all must be made illegal to do

  3. Andrea Chisari says:

    It’s Florida. Behaviour like this is too be expected.

    • JN Dauterive says:

      What an idiotic statement from someone that obviously knows nothing about the incredible destruction of invasive pythons. Racoon and possum populations have plummeted because to it. Scientists recognize removing these invasive species is necessary to preserve the ecosystems that evolved there over eons..

      • if people would keep their grubby hands out of nature many of these species would not be found where they are. many of these snakes species were released after they weren’t cute little critters anymore. lets kill off more sharks because they are an invasive species so big kahuna can hang ten safely. give me a break.

      • American Girl says:

        Thank you, spot on! Don’t forget the decimation of birds, roseate spoonills,egret & herons) to name a few, marsh rabbits, bobcats,deer the list goes on. Everything native!

      • Andrea Chisari says:

        Excuse me, but I am NOT the idiot here. These “pet” pythons did not come here on their own. They do not belong here, but they do not deserve the slaughter that is coming, nor do any of us deserve the destruction that attends the slaughter.

        There are other ways!

      • Raymond Stevens says:

        Bullshit

    • American Girl says:

      Thank you, spot on! Don’t forget the decimation of birds, roseate spoonills,egret & herons) to name a few, marsh rabbits, bobcats,deer the list goes on. Everything native!

    • American Girl says:

      What a moronic, uneducated statement.

      • Andrea Chisari says:

        I agree, you made a moronic, uneducated statement, American Girl. The snakes do not belong here – but they didn’t get here on their own and they do NOT deserve to die for the actions of some thoughtless humans!

  4. Ronni Ascagni says:

    No animal should be hunted. We don’t need it’s meat. It’s fur or it’s skin. We have beautiful alternatives and we get let nature be nature

    • JN Dauterive says:

      Too late. Stupid snake pet owners created havoc by introducing this damaging invasive species that did not evolve in that ecosystem, and which is leading to the loss of species that did, with a cascading domino effect of damage.

  5. Nadine brundage says:

    Yes, these snakes dumped by humans are a big problem to local wildlife, but there needs to be a more human way to get rid of them, stop letting hunters destroy the Everglades. They ride all over native plants with vehicles, killing everything in site. Opening the Everglades to hunting is a terrible idea. Enough is enough. Humans are the worst breed.

  6. STOP LETTING HUNTERS FROM KILLING ALL PYTHONS NONPOISONOUS SNAKES EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!! ANY HINTER KILLING PYTHONS AND ALL OTHER NONPOISONOUS SNAKES SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!!!

    • JN Dauterive says:

      Venemous. Non-venemous.
      All idiots that released their stupid status-inducing snakes should be charged with animal cruelty, destruction of property and stupidity.

  7. Kat Gonzalez says:

    Don’t these hunters and other people understand that EVERY species is becoming extinct?

  8. Dejen en paz a los animales. ASESINOS.

  9. Yep this is ABCOLUTELY HUMAN’s FaultNot the snakes! SO humans should rectify it without killing them!

  10. Shirley Lemieux says:

    I find it an absolute shame when government agencies resort to killing an animal species just because they exist on the land. But even more shameful is when supposed “prizes” are awarded to the hunters who kill them. Absolute disgrace. Human Males are the most predatorial species on the Planet who commit unthinkable crimes to both humans and animals but do we as humans hunt them all down as a means of punishment and to curtail their behavior? This Male behavior of hunting and killing an animal species just because of their existence is a predatory act.

    • i am a human male and i fight for all animal rights. it’s like me calling every woman a nagging whining PITA. there are some who are and many who are not. same goes for knuckle dragging men.

      • Shirley Lemieux says:

        I am not implying that all men are bad or predators. There are alot of wonderful men out there. The facts are the facts. My apologies if i have offended you.

  11. Maria Bertrand says:

    This is barbaric behaviour that is the same as MURDER! What century are you living in? No animal should be treated with such total disregard.

    Florida get it together and PROTECT ALL animals! These are all man made problems and the animals should not pay the price with their life!

  12. Please go after the idiots who brought these snakes to Florida and then abandoned them. Prosecute them! It is PEOPLE who always cause problems, not the animals! But animals are the ones suffering because of stupid actions perpetrated by people.

  13. I only signed this petition because of the idea that hunters may soon be able to go into protected areas. This will probably cause greater damage than the snakes. Trained conservation teams should be used for their removal. But as far as the other hunts are concerned, I think that they need to continue (with an emphasis on humane killing) as these snakes are a terrible invasive species that are decimating the native wildlife which needs to be protected. It’s like the situation with the English Sparrow which some idiot brought to America. They have spread nationwide and infiltrate our native species habitats, including killing young and adult bluebirds. What would you rather see in your yard – a dozen English Sparrows or even one Bluebird? Sometimes it’s not a question of “ shouldn’t ALL creatures be allowed to live?” but about restoring the natural balance and preserving native species.

  14. Stop interfering with a delicate ecosystem.

  15. Jaime Perez says:

    I am so sick of hearing things like this. Making sport out of the cold blooded murder of innocent animals. Humans are so sickening!

  16. I am not signing this. I lived in S FL for many years. The pythons are an INVASIVE SPECIES. They have killed the bulk of the mammals in the Everglades. It’s a travesty. Those disgusting pythons have decimated that area and they are an apex predator. At this point, the only way to truly get rid of them is to torch the Everglades and slowly bring in the original animals over time to repopulate. DO NOT SIGN

  17. The only good hunter is a dead hunter. Hunt the hunters!!

  18. Raymond Stevens says:

    Assholes that kill animals for fun should be killed for justice.

  19. Charleen Murphy says:

    Some humans are disgusting! Acting cruelly & stupid & not a care for anyone but themselves. Leave the snakes alone & find people who can safely move them somewhere else. People need to think more! & Look after the planet!

  20. Leave the pythons alone! They are good noodles!

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