Irula snake trackers work to remove pythons from Everglades

©Everglades NPS

Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal have partnered with the University of Florida to catch invasive Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) in the Florida Everglades. The two men are from Southern India’s Irula tribe, famous for their snake hunting abilities. The pilot project, funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), costs $68,880 to employ Sadaiyan, Gopal, and two translators for two months. Burmese pythons have been established in south Florida for more than 20 years, negatively impacting the native ecosystem, and the FWC employs multiple programs to manage them, like the 2013 and 2016 Python Challenge. Last year’s Python Challenge involved more than 1,000 participants and reported the removal of 106 snakes during the 1-month long competition. Over the course of two weeks, Sadaiyan and Gopal captured 14 pythons, including a 16-foot long female.

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