Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez Announces Winners of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®
The Floridant/10245171

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ~ Today, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez announced the winners of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge®. This year, 1,050 participants from 35 states and Belgium removed 209 Burmese pythons from South Florida during the 10-day competition created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and partners to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida's ecology.

Paul Hobbs was named the Ultimate Grand Prize Winner for removing 20 Burmese pythons, taking home a $10,000 prize. The Ultimate Grand Prize Runner-Up was Ronald Kiger who removed 14 pythons and won $7,500. Justin Morgan won in the military category for removing seven pythons and took home $2,500.

The awards ceremony was held at Long Key Nature Center in Davie, FL where Lieutenant Governor Nuñez congratulated all of the winners. "Removing these invasive pythons is an important part of our efforts to protect the Everglades, and this competition allows people to get involved in Florida's conservation efforts for one of the world's most prized natural resources," said Nuñez.

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Rodney Barreto, FWC Chairman expressed his gratitude for everyone involved in making this year's competition a success. "The success of the 2023 Florida Python Challenge® would not have been possible without the dedication of over 1,000 competition participants, efforts from staff, support from our partners, and the strong leadership of Governor DeSantis," said Barreto. "This success has a direct positive impact on the Everglades and our native wildlife."

Roger Young, FWC Executive Director also thanked everyone involved in this year's challenge for bringing awareness to removing invasive species from Florida's environment. "Thanks to Governor DeSantis and our many partners," said Young,"we have the privilege to reward the public for their interest in getting outdoors and helping to conserve Florida's natural resources."

South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member "Alligator Ron" Bergeron praised all of those who participated in this year's challenge for their dedication to improving South Florida's ecosystem. "It is great to see so many people participate in this year's Florida Python Challenge® that brings awareness to removing invasive species from Florida's environment," said Bergeron.

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South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Drew Bartlett also thanked all those involved with facilitating this year's challenge as well as Governor DeSantis and Lt. Governor Nuñez for their commitment to Everglades restoration. "The annual python challenge is a great way to get the public involved in understanding the unique Everglades ecosystem," said Bartlett."We continue to expedite Everglades restoration efforts thanks to their support."

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida but have been found primarily in and around South Floridas' Everglades ecosystem where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. Since 2000 more than 19,000 wild Burmese pythons have been reported removed from state of Florida with 11,000 being removed since 2019 alone according FWC data. The annual Python Challenge encourages people get directly involved with conservation through removal of these invasive species while raising awareness about their impacts on Floridas' environment . For more information visit

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