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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist briefed on Florida's python problem



Gov. Charlie Crist paid an official visit to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday to learn more about how the agency is attacking the proliferation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades. The problem took on urgency last month after a pet Burmese python asphyxiated a girl in Sumter County.

Florida's python capture program began July 17 and will end Oct. 31, and FWC officials say they are considering asking the state Legislature to ban Internet sales of pythons.

Tim Breault, an FWC habitat and species expert, said six pythons have been captured in recent weeks. Breault estimated that 110,000 of the exotic snakes have been brought into Florida since 1990, and the snake "got its toehold" in the Everglades in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, partly because of the storm-related destruction of pet shops in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties.

The governor walked the halls of FWC's offices in the Farris Bryant Building near the Capitol, and met and made small talk with a number of employees. Spotting a computer mouse pad featuring the FSU logo, Crist asked a secretary: "When does FSU start practice?" When a woman said she worked in FWC's office of inspector general, Crist asked: "Are you doing a lot of inspecting, generally?"


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:55pm]


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