Economic Impacts of the Python Invasion
Local, state and federal agencies are in a constant battle with invasive species to prevent, control and when able, eradicate them. Annually, the United States spends over $120 billion dollars dealing with problems caused by invasive species. Across the world, the amount of money spent on invasive species sores to $1.4 trillion dollars, which is approximately 5 percent of the global economy (Prairie Fire). To combat the ever increasing population of Burmese Pythons, the National Park Service and other local, state and federal agencies have created python hunting programs where they pay native Floridians to catch Burmese Pythons. One example can be seen with the South Florida Water Management District. The South Florida Water Management District pays eligible hunters $8.10 an hour to look for pythons on its vast landholdings, which encompass much of the Everglades, although not Everglades National Park. Hunters get a $50 bonus for every python measuring at least 4 feet, with $25 for each foot beyond. They receive an additional $200 for each eliminated python nest with eggs (Flesher).
Example of how Pythons hunters are paid, source: Python Elimination Program
One reason why the cost to battle the Burmese Python is so high is due to prevent the extinction of species already endangered, two of which have been found as prey in Burmese python stomachs (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). From 1999 to 2009, Federal and State agencies spent $1.4 million on Key Largo woodrat recovery and $101.2 million on wood stork recovery. Puerto Rican parrots, although not found as prey yet, have cost Federal and State agencies $17.2 million during that period because…. In addition to these three examples, many other endangered species are found in Florida and other States and territories that would be threatened by large constrictor snakes. Reducing or eliminating this threat will support the valiant efforts completed so far to recover these species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).