And now for something completely different...
SFWMD has the cure for "bad news" fatigue. It’s the python channel! All pythons, all the time.
Research linking cyanobacteria to liver failure ignited a recent wave of alarm as more evidence surfaced connecting toxic algae to health risks in coastal communities. But the South Florida Water Management District came through as usual with a welcome diversion on its electronic sidestage -- more pythons!
Although Florida faces another round of deep budget cuts, and federal funding for natural resource management programs may zero-out entirely this year, SFWMD somehow found the money to invest in a social media initiative dedicated largely to pythons.
The scorned pets, of unrestrained appetite and nasty attitude, have spread rapidly, grown to outrageous lengths, and wreaked havoc on South Florida. Almost daily, harrowing encounters are given enthusiastic coverage on SFWMD’s Python Channel, feeding an unparalleled public interest and inspiring an important state initiative.
The Elimination Will Be Televised
$175,000 Florida tax dollars are being allocated through the district to rid us once and for all of the deadly nuisances. SFWMD has hand-picked 25 professional python hunters in an effort to get these %@+#$%&#*&!% snakes off this %@+#$%&#*&!% plain.
In a flood of social media updates, Facebook live recordings, and headlining news releases, the powerful state agency responsible for managing waterways and drinking water for millions of Floridians has dedicated immense resources to making The Python Channel as entertaining and distracting as it can possibly be.
Since the inception of the Pilot Python Elimination Program, the district announced that 117 pythons have been successfully removed from the estimated population of 300,000.
So at this rate, South Florida could be python-free in less than 100,000 years…assuming that no more snakes hatch during that time. Then it will take longer.
A recent SFWMD news release boasts that roughly $17,000 in bounties and $18,000 in hourly fees have been paid out so far, for an average cost of less than $300 per snake.The two-month hunting spree ends June 1st, so if the python elimination rate remains constant, the district will memorialize another 15 pythons before the game is up. Maybe more if the holiday weekend factors in.
In truth, the python program is brilliant. As criticism of SFWMD’s political corruption and horrific water management echoes from the Keys to Tallahassee, taxpayers are paying attention. The district has responded with a unique twist on a time-honored internet diversionary tactic: Instead of distracting people with a barrage of cute animals, their social media team is distracting people with a barrage of things that eat cute animals. Well played, SFWMD.
Make sure you “Get the Facts” about SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program:
A single adult python can distract thousands of taxpayers from asking why SFWMD lets the sugar industry flood nearly half-a-million acres of cane fields during a severe drought
With the pilot program funded all-in for only $175,000, the per-snake cost works out to less than $1,500. That means the district could fund the removal of all 300,000 pythons for less than half-a-billion dollars...again, unless more snakes hatch. Then it will cost more.
There are almost as many SFWMD-accredited python hunters as there are SFWMD employees publishing articles in Treasure Coast newspapers to attack the science behind sending water south
St. Patrick (pictured below), the fifth century “Apostle of Ireland,” famed for banishing all snakes from the Emerald Isle, was not among the applicants qualifying for cash prizes in the district’s python elimination program
- BONUS Python Encounter Tip: Never ignore a Burmese python! Immediately photograph any python you see and alert SFWMD. The district’s Facebook team will post an update on the snake’s awesomeness right away to help taxpayers direct their attention away from fatal disease, economic disaster, and habitat destruction related to South Florida’s water management policy.