HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Hunters and water management officials marked a milestone in the Florida Everglades Tuesday by checking in the 1,000th Burmese python collected in the Python Elimination Program.

  • 1,000th Burmese python caught over the weekend in the Everglades
  • Python was caught as part of the Python Elimination Program

Florida has been paying a group of hunters to kill the snakes on state lands since March 2017.

The pythons, which are invasive, are blamed for declining animal populations across the Everglades.

Hunter Brian Hargrove caught the snake over the weekend. Hargrove grew up in the Everglades, and while he hates killing the snakes, he knows doing this will help save the area.

"You used to drive in the Everglades and see, easily, 20, 30, 40 rabbits on any given morning. I've only seen one since I started this program," Hargrove said.

Program officials say they've seen a 99 percent reduction of furry animals in Everglades National Park, and they believe it's because of the snakes.

Hargrove said the snake, which was big, was in an area propulated by American crocodiles. 

The python was 11 feet and 2 inches in length. 

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.