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Miami, Feb 16 (EFE).- The controversial contest, organized by Florida authorities to raise awareness about the problem of an overpopulation of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, ended with the capture of 68 specimens in one month, including one that was 4.35 meters (14 feet 3 inches) long.
The results were announced Saturday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during the prize giving ceremony at the Miami Metro Zoo.
The top prizes were those of $1,500 for catching the most pythons and $1,000 for catching the biggest one.
The largest snake was nabbed by Brian Barrows, who brought in a python 4.35 meters (14 feet 3 inches) long, while Ruben Ramirez got the most with a total of 18 specimens.
The biggest Burmese python ever caught in the Everglades was a female trapped last August that was 5.36 meters (17 feet 7 inches) long.
The almost 1,600 participants had a month to explore the roughly 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) of wetlands in Everglades National Park in search of the pythons.
"Thanks to the determination of Python Challenge competitors, we are able to gather invaluable information that will help refine and focus combined efforts to control pythons in the Everglades," FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley said at the awards ceremony.
As many as 100,000 Burmese pythons are estimated to be in the Everglades, where they have all but wiped out native species in some areas. The problem stems from python owners who abandoned their pets in the vast "River of Grass."