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January 14th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Is Fla. 'open season' python hunting the best answer to snake overpopulation? Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin weighs in

Hunting to conserve wildlife seems a contradiction, but not in Florida. An invasive species of snakes are now the target of a hunting competition.

Giant Burmese pythons are threatening the delicate ecosystem of Florida’s Everglades, so the state is now asking the public for help. Until February 10th, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared open season on pythons in the Everglades.

All you need to participate is a $25 registration fee and an online training course. The person who kills the most pythons wins $1,500, while $1,000 goes to the person who bags the longest snake.

Jeff Corwin, wildlife conservationist and the host of "Ocean Mysteries" on ABC, explains why he thinks the state's answer to the python issue is drastic.

"The truth is these snakes are having a devastating impact on this critical habitat and the species that live here," he says.

Corwin, who says his career has been based on snakes, admits he has mixed feeling about the contest. "Frankly, they've done nothing wrong. They're just doing what snakes do," he says. "But something has to be done to manage this environment, or we could literally see some species pushed to extinction because of the presence of these invasive snakes."

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Filed under: Wildlife