Pythons mostly elude hunters in Fla. competition

A Burmese python is displayed at the kick-off ceremonies in Davie, Fla., Jan. 12, 2013, for the 2013 "Python Challenge" organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Nearly 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida. Experts say the invasive species is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades. For the first time, the public is joining licensed hunters in the search for the snakes. AP Photo/J Pat Carter

MIAMI More than 1,000 people signed up to hunt Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades, but just a fraction of them have been successful so far.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Friday that 30 of the invasive snakes have been killed in the competition that began Jan. 12.

Wildlife officials say eradicating pythons from the Everglades was never the goal of the monthlong "Python Challenge." Instead, they hoped to raise awareness about the snake's threat to native wildlife and the fragile Everglades ecosystem. The snake faces both state and federal bans.

No one knows for sure how many pythons live in the Everglades. Researchers say the hunt is helping them collect more information about the pythons' habits.

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