Editor's note: In the hunt for what to do about the various mix of invasive species found in Florida, we are running a series that not only describes the problems caused by these plants and animals but, well, offers a culinary solution. Tweet us (@WLRN) your ideas and tips or email us a recipe: WLRNMIA@gmail.com.
Is there any animal more closely associated with the Everglades than the American alligator? OK, the Burmese python has been the 'glades press "darling" as of late, but invasive, non-natives do not count for the purposes of celebrating the Everglades. While Florida's iconic reptilian king deserves all of the attention it gets, there are plenty of other cool critters that inhabit the Everglades.
Lionfish are the newest target of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation's (FWC) efforts to use social engagement to tackle the problem of exotic, invasives in the state. The FWC announced last week the launch of its "Lionfish Control Team" photo contest for the month of April.
Fire ants are notorious Florida invasives, leaving a trail of painful welts and blisters in their wake. Those pesky exotic intruders also happen to be a serious threat to some of the state's most vulnerable endemic species. This includes the Florida grasshopper sparrow, which recently made the March/April cover of Audubon Magazine as "the most endangered bird in the continental United States."
As Mike Perez mingled with visitors at the recent Python Challenge awards event in Miami, his left arm supported the weight of a black-and-white lizard with a body as thick as a linebacker's bicep. Gazing through heavily hooded eyes, the lizard rarely moved, save for sticking out its forked tongue for an occasional sniff .
Tom Rahill knows the Everglades. He has been camping, hiking, clearing trails, and "hanging out" in Florida's River of Grass for an estimated 35 years. When he sweats, Rahill says he "even smells like the Everglades." A participant in the recently-wrapped and much-maligned Python Challenge, Rahill recognizes that much of the press and public appear unimpressed with the contest's final tally of 68 snakes.
The wacky challenge that grabbed national headlines -- and perhaps more than its fair share of derision -- will come to a head Saturday morning, when the 2013 Python Challenge awards are presented in Miami.
In 1946, a bizarre cargo shipment stopped over at the Pan American Airlines headquarters in Miami. En route to Tierra del Fuego, the southern most tip of South America, fifty North American Beavers were temporarily housed in a walk-in refrigerator maintained by the airline. The door of the fridge, however, was made of wood.
This is oversight at its worst; Beavers in a prison made of wood.
A teddy bear of a cat stretches across a desk. His baseball-sized orange paws skim the keyboard as his purring body contorts into a position that exposes an expansive patch of striped belly. The tableau, which plays out in my home office on a near-daily basis, is a pleasant distraction from this week's reminder that my loyal companion is a natural born killer.
A bill that should help fix Florida's python problem is slipping out of the hands of lawmakers in Washington.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, has been trying to get legislation passed that would broaden a ban on invasive species in the U.S. In effect, the bill would slow down a recent influx of invasive snakes taking over the Everglades in Florida.