Starting Friday, you can sign up to be a paid python hunter in South Florida. But there’s two things different with this hunt, than the previous python challenges:
- You’ll get paid even if you don’t find any.
- You’ll be allowed in lands that were off limits before.
“This is not a competition. This is just paying people for their efforts,” says Rory Feeney, bureau chief for the South Florida Water Management District.
Starting on April 1st, 25 people will be picked to work with the South Florida Water Management District, to go out looking for Burmese Pythons. They’ll be paid minimum wage hourly, and awarded bonuses per snake, based on its size.
Their pay will be maxed out at 8 hours a day, but allowed to hunt anytime they want, day or night. They’ll be looking in places that previous hunters haven’t.
“We’re going to leave it open to pretty broad areas where python challenge participants in the past have not been able to get to,” Feeney says.
“Anything that we can do to help remove these animals from the wild is a plus,” says David Hitzig, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter.
He says the incentive system is a good idea. It allows thrill seekers to get their fix, but also try to correct a problem that benefits the community.
“This is a much bigger problem then I think most people realize. A lot of people think its easy going out there and catching a few pythons and the problem is solved. This is something that has been building over years and has taken a major toll, a major toll, on the Everglade’s ecosystem.”
On top of the hourly rate, you’ll get paid starting at $50 per snake 4 feet or shorter. For every foot longer than 4 feet, it’s an additional $25. If you find a python nest with eggs, you get another $100.
Anyone is welcome to apply to become a python hunter by submitting an application. To be eligible, participants must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Possess a valid driver's license
- Possess a valid email address
- Have access to an iOS or Android mobile device that allows for download and utilization of the required GPS tracking app
- Consent to be tracked using the GPS tracking app
- Have not been convicted of a felony or wildlife-related offense within the last five years
- Consent to submit to a criminal background check
To register, click here after 9am Friday.