(As originally published with 7 soundbites and other photos, Thu, June 16th 2022, 6:53 AM EDT)
MIAMI, Fla. (CBS12) — The 9th annual Python Challenge is on.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced registration for the contest is beginning, at a news conference in the Everglades, west of Miami, Thursday morning. Click here for information and to register.
This year’s competition will run from 8 a.m. Aug. 5 to 5 p.m. Aug. 14. Last year, 223 of the invasive species were removed.
All participants will have to take an online course, and only Burmese pythons will be considered valid entries in the competition.
DeSantis — who’s running for reelection in November and is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2024 — touted the amount of money budgeted and work accomplished since he became governor.
The governor said this year’s state budget includes up to $3 million for python removal efforts. That includes supporting research and development of technologies to detect and remove pythons. Near-infrared cameras that better detect pythons are part of the technology.
The event took place at Everglades Airboat Expeditions.
Gov. DeSantis also answered questions about Covid-19 vaccines for children, the Florida State Guard, and gas prices.
He said the state is not recommending Covid vaccines for children because it found the risks outweigh the benefits, but parents are free to choose.
The governor reiterated what he said Wednesday, that the Florida State Guard will not have a Covid vaccine requirement.
DeSantis also responded to a reporter’s question about high gas prices and blamed President Biden, saying he has “a lot of chutzpah to attack energy producers when he campaigned saying he was going to cut down energy production in the United States.”