endangered species

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Self-medicating stations meant to protect the endangered Key deer from screwworm have already been removed and federal wildlife managers plan to stop medicating entirely on April 10 — assuming no new cases of the deadly parasite are found.

Screwworm was first confirmed in the Keys Sept. 30 and killed 135 Key deer, an endangered species that lives nowhere else in the world. Before the outbreak, the population was estimated at 800 to 1,000 animals.

The president of the Florida Wildlife Federation is praising a decision by state regulators to upgrade protections for a broad range of iconic species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.

The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

Jeremy Dixon / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 Burmese pythons have established themselves in the Everglades — and now they appear to be breeding in the Florida Keys, according to state and federal wildlife agencies.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

  Key deer were almost hunted to extinction. By 1950, as few as 25-50 of the animals were left.

But the creation of the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key and protection under the Endangered Species Act have led to a comeback. The most recent population study estimates the herd at 900 to 1,000.

"They are truly one of the success stories of conservation," said Adam Emerick, a refuge biologist who gave an update on the Key deer to the Monroe County Commission this week.

Meghan Koperski / FWC

Sea turtle nesting season on Florida beaches begins March 1st. State wildlife officials are reminding beachgoers to turn off the flash when taking photos of nesting or hatching turtles.

FWC

  Fifty-seven species of fish and wildlife are so rare or face such threats that they are considered "imperiled" by the state of Florida.

Now the state has 49 action plans aimed at protecting those species. Some, like several species of wading birds, share the same habitat so they're covered under the same plan.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Boaters from the Lower Keys often escape to the nearby islands of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge was created in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect birds from plume hunters. Several of the islands have beaches that are attractive to boaters — and to nesting sea turtles and shorebirds.

The City of Oakland Park

  

Charles Livio, 62, is proud of his adopted family of 12.

“We have 10 adults and two juveniles,” says a beaming Livio.  “We had a successful breeding.”

If that sounds like a strange way for a foster dad to talk about his charges, it’s only because the family at Oakland Park’s Lakeside Sand Pine Preserve is an unusual one.  And Livio’s 12 dependents are a bit reclusive.

“They are naturally leery of people. And when they see people, they will usually scurry back in their burrow or they’ll just scurry off,” he says.

Jim Sadle / National Park Service

  Even though a possible federal government shutdown was averted when Congress passed a bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, just the possibility still meant that one federal agency had to cancel an operation planned for the Florida Keys this week.

"We got shut down because of the potential shutdown," said Chris Eggleston, acting refuge manager for the Florida Keys. "They didn't want to start anything that would potentially make them work through the shutdown."

FWC / Keys InfoNet

Two Miami men pleaded no contest Wednesday in Monroe County Circuit Court to a third-degree felony charge in a case of sea turtle mutilation.

David Hernandez-Sordo, 49, and Pedro Suarez, 60, were sentenced to 18 months' probation, said Assistant Monroe State Attorney Anna Hubicki, who prosecuted the case. They also pled no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor charge.

Miami-Dade Pine Rockland Designated "Critical Habitat"

Aug 17, 2015
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that more than 2,700 acres of pine rockland in South Miami-Dade will be designated as a “critical habitat” for two endangered plants.

These two plants — Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax — can only be found in south Miami-Dade County.

Jimi Sadle / National Park Service

Federal wildlife managers in the Florida Keys are planning controlled burns on Big Pine Key this summer to help the Bartram's hairstreak butterfly.

The inch-long butterfly was added to the federal Endangered Species List last August. It lives only in pine rocklands and only a few fragments of that habitat remain in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Mark Hedden / WLRN

A 33-year-old Big Pine Key man faces a third-degree felony charge after state wildlife officers say he shot and killed an endangered Key deer because it was eating his plants.

Big Pine Key, an island about 40 miles northeast of Key West, is part of the National Key Deer Refuge. The refuge was created in 1957 to protect the diminutive deer, which had been hunted to the extent there were an estimated 55 left.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial history in Florida -- especially when it comes to the Everglades and the state’s wildlife.  

But now, the agency wants Floridians to know they’re working harder to protect endangered species.  

Each year the Corps of Engineers receives requests for various projects to build on regulated wetlands or the coast.  

The agency tries to issue half of those permits within 120 days.

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