A bald eagle was shot and killed in Manatee County, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, while a man in Okaloosa County has been charged with shooting and killing a Florida black bear in 2006, the Northwest Florida Daily News has said. Both species are considered threatened by the state of Florida.
I think it must be really hard for wildlife officers to investigate crimes like these. After all, many times, these species aren’t in populated areas where someone might have seen the shooting. Investigators definitely have their work cut out for them. It’s telling that it took more than a year to find the bear’s killer.
I am disappointed that the Daily News story didn’t elaborate about how the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the bear’s killer. And I’m disappointed the bald eagle that was shot was the male half of a mating pair just about to hatch their eaglets.
Disappointed, all around.
Someone shot a bald eagle in the leg in southwestern Florida, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for the public’s help in finding the shooter, the Naples Daily News reports — call 239-561-8144 or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC. Bald eagles aren’t listed as endangered anymore, but it is still a crime to harm them, punishable by fines and jail time.
The eagle will need surgery on the leg as soon as it’s healthy enough — it weighs about half of what a healthy eagle should, the paper reports.
In the midst of the excitement over the manatee downlisting being delayed, Floridians seem to have missed other state wildlife agency decision making — namely, gopher tortoises and bald eagles.
People who want to develop land where gopher tortoises live won’t be allowed to buy permits to bury the tortoises alive anymore and must relocate them. Their status is also going to be “uplisted” from species of special concern to threatened (one step down from endangered). Some tortoise advocates, though, are concerned the rule to relocate tortoises won’t be as effective in small parcels of land that are being developed, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. One tortoise expert in the article says the state’s new laws about developing tortoise habitat are too vague and that the state will probably have trouble enforcing the new rules when it comes to individual lots.
The state wildlife agency also approved the draft of a new management plan for bald eagles that takes them off the state endangered list altogether — if approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The bald eagle would continue to be protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the FWC said.
Oh good, bald eagles save the day from weirdness. (See previous two posts.)
It looks as though Florida wants to entirely delist the bald eagle. I haven’t read all 67 pages of the plan, but it does say the bald eagle “represents one of the great conservation success stories in our nation’s history,” and points out there were at least 1,133 nesting territories in Florida as of last year.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is accepting public comments about a revised draft bald eagle management plan until Sept. 14. You can e-mail your comments to eagle_plan@myFWC.com.
There’s also a public workshop, held 5:30–7 p.m. Aug. 22 at the FWC Northeast Regional Office, 1239 S.W. 10th St., Ocala. For a copy of the agenda, contact Robin Boughton, FWC, 1239 S.W. 10th St., Ocala, FL 34471-0323 or call (352) 732-1225.
Photo from U.S. Dept. of the Interior