"Florida To Begin Issuing Permits Friday for Python Hunt"

"MIAMI -- By next week, the first of a select squad of python hunters will be ready to roll.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday approved plans to begin capturing and killing Burmese pythons that have invaded the Everglades.

The governor called the program, similar to one used for 'nuisance' alligators on state lands, important for protecting wildlife and the public.

Scientists believe the snakes, likely offspring of pets released by owners or freed from cages or shops by Hurricane Andrew, primarily pose a threat to native species.

It won't be an open season on constrictors. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will issue a limited number of permits starting Friday. The program, run with the South Florida Water Management District, will focus on state marshes south of Lake Okeechobee."

Curtis Morgan reports for the Miami Herald July 16, 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009