Archive for wildlife

The good news and bad news of a drought

When rain and water in general are scarce, it’s a bad news/good news situation. In today’s News-Press, an article discusses both the good and the bad about drought in relation to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southwestern Florida. Without rain to replenish the swamp, species that depend on water for laying eggs and for food (like endangered wood storks and other wading birds, frogs and insects) have a hard time. Wood storks might not even nest this year, the article reports. Drier conditions, though, mean it’s easier for visitors to see land animals like Florida black bears and deer — and it also helps bald cypress trees to germinate. As with so many areas in life, you take the bad with the good….

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State wildlife agency might not cut positions after all

A few weeks ago, we heard that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission might cut 90 enforcement positions, many of which help patrol manatee speed zones. But today, the St. Petersburg Times reports Governor Charlie Crist opposes cutting so many FWC staff positions. Seems Crist thinks law enforcement is a priority, so the FWC will have to find another way to cut spending. Today’s article has some other good information on manatee patrols and deaths.

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Florida’s endangered plants aren’t as protected as endangered wildlife

There are almost as many plants on the U.S. Endangered Species List as there are animals in the state of Florida. As the Lakeland Ledger points out, though, endangered plants don’t get the same protection that endangered wildlife do. Considering that many of Florida’s endangered plants live here and nowhere else in the world, that’s really something. The article says proposed budget cuts could hurt these extremely rare plants and suggests people contact Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson about the issue.

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Dispose of that line! And recycle

By now, everyone knows (or they should know) fishing line is a serious hazard to all kinds of wildlife. Now there’s something you can help do about it, the Tallahasee Democrat reports. You can request new fishing line receptacles to be placed where they’re needed; just call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 850-487-0554. Click here for more about recycling fishing/monofilament line.

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Coyotes may be hunting cats in Gainesville

Remember earlier this month when I was curious about coyotes in Florida? More news on coyotes has turned up, this time in the Gainesville Sun, where folks in the area think cats have gone missing because coyotes are hunting them.

Have you seen a coyote where you live?

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Feeding wildlife just creates problems

Sigh. In the almost eight years since the EcoFlorida Web site has been up, I’ve gotten so many e-mails from folks with “wildlife problems” that I’ve lost count. Most, but not all, of the problems are because people started feeding the wildlife. Then the wildlife became more assertive in asking for their handout, and the people didn’t think feeding the animals was cute anymore.

That’s also the gist of this Orlando Sentinel article about how, as people build housing developments and move farther into previously wild territory, they feed the wildlife around them and end up with problems like property damage. In addition to the story, there are some good links to follow here, including what to do if a sandhill crane ruins your property, what is and isn’t against the law when it comes to feeding wildlife, and some stats.

Basically, if you love wildlife, it’s best to just let them be wild.

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State wildlife agency commission seats not filled by “animal people”

The Humane Society has spoken out against recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission appointments by Gov. Charlie Crist, a Naples Daily News article reports. The article says the national animal group pointed out the three open seats were filled by a developer, an attorney and an engineer. A St. Petersburg Times editorial goes farther and says not a single seat on the FWC commission is filled by someone with a background in wildlife or ecology. The positions are unpaid, the paper says in this article by Craig Pittman, which also reports that “a biology professor from the University of Central Florida, a former state Department of Environmental Protection official and the conservation director of a privately owned wildlife preserve” were in the running but were passed over.

The people on the commission are probably great folks, but it is surprising to me to learn no one there has his or her main job in conservation or biological science.

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