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Respecting the Everglades

Birds fly over marsh in everglades

The immensity of the Florida Everglades contains an abundance of habitats and wildlife. Participants in the Florida Python Challenge® are reminded to tread lightly and disturb as little as possible to conserve the beauty and biological diversity of this massive watershed. The Everglades is home to Florida panthers, black bears, white-tailed deer, alligators, roseate spoonbills, wood storks and many other native species.

When you are capturing and removing Burmese pythons, please take special care if you visit tree islands in the Everglades. Tree islands are tear-shaped jewels hidden in a sea of sawgrass. Each one sits on a limestone outcrop only inches to several feet higher than the surrounding landscape – a dry oasis canopied by cabbage palm, red maple, sweet bay, cypress and tropical hammock species. While tree islands comprise less than 2% of the Everglades landscape, they provide refuge for wildlife during rainy seasons and act as a nursery for a number of species. Tree islands are a vital component of the ecosystem.

To conserve these valuable resources, parking or driving airboats or other vehicles on tree islands or the surrounding fringe vegetation is prohibited. Cutting, damaging, or removing any natural, manmade, or cultural resources is also not allowed. This includes cutting down understory vegetation on tree islands.