TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Over 200 invasive Burmese pythons were removed from south Florida this year during the 2022 Florida Python Challenge, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Thursday.

Nearly 1,000 participants from 32 states, Canada and Latvia removed hundreds of Burmese pythons from south Florida as part of the 10-day competition, created to raise awareness about invasive species.

Matthew Concepcion won this year’s challenge, removing a total of 28 pythons for the $10,000 ultimate grand prize, courtesy of the Bergeron Everglades Foundation.

Dustin Crum won the $1,500 grand prize for the longest python removed in the competition, at a length of 11 feet, 0.24 inches.

The annual competition encourages people to get directly involved in Everglades conservation through the removal of the invasive species. Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and negatively impact the ecosystem and native species.

A female Burmese python may lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time.

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Anyone can remove and humanely kill Burmese pythons at any time on private land, with landowner permission. The species can also be removed on 25 Commission-managed lands throughout south Florida.

Since 2000, more than 17,000 wild Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida.

More information on the challenge and prize winners can be found online.