Sumatran Tiger

Invasive Species Research

Burmese Pythons

Zoo Miami staff has been active in the management of Burmese pythons in Florida since 2007. Our current role is supporting the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service (NPS) research efforts to learn about this invasive snakes impacts in our National Park System and to develop better detection and removal management strategies in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) programs. 

Zoo Miami's veterinary team has utilized the zoo hospital facilities and staff expertise to provide surgical services to researchers in these different agencies over the last decade. Due to snakes' unique anatomy, biologists cannot attach monitoring equipment via collars or harnesses like they typically do for other wildlife ecological studies. Zoo Miami veterinary staff ensure good animal welfare and better outcomes in the behavioral studies for the biologists by safely surgically implanting tracking devices, data recording microdevices and sometimes prolonged release drug implants in the zoo hospital's surgical suite. This collaboration allows for the best research result outcome for our partners and for us to help fulfill our mission to protect natural resources. 

Dr. Frank Ridgley performing a surgery on an invasive Burmese python at Zoo Miami's hospital


Media coverage of this project can be found here:

Washington Examiner - August 22, 2022

WLRN - November 12, 2019

WLRN Sundial - July 22, 2019

AP - June 15, 2019

USA Today - April 9, 2019

Star Tribune - January 6, 2013