Protecting Everglades Wildlife

protecting Everglades wildlife

Protecting Everglades Wildlife

Most of us are familiar with the terms, "threatened," "endangered" and "extinct," but few of us understand what they really mean. With population growth comes a surge in development activity as we build homes, businesses and amenities. Unfortunately, changes impact more than our communities, but the animals that live on the land. One of the areas impacted is the Florida Everglades. A pristine collection of extraordinary plants and wildlife, the Everglades is experiencing degradation of habitat, causing Everglades wildlife to decline.

With American alligators, tropical snakes and over 350 bird species, the Everglades is a playground for outdoor activity. Unparalleled scenery and wildlife makes exploring the River of Grass a once in a lifetime opportunity. This unique land deserves our attention, and the more informed we are, the better chance the animals have.

Endangered Versus Threatened Everglades Wildlife

In 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was created to conserve and recover species and habitats on the federal threatened and endangered lists. The ESA takes necessary steps to protect Everglades wildlife, but animals must be on both the threatened and endangered lists before protection will start. What's the difference between endangered and threatened? Endangered species are in immediate danger of becoming extinct unless something is done to protect their habitat. Threatened species are likely to become endangered soon if steps are not taken in the immediate future.

According to the National Park Service, there are currently 23 animal species in the Everglades on both the federally endangered and threatened lists. There are over 60 different types of Everglades wildlife on just the threatened list. The Florida panther and the American alligator are two of the deserving animals receiving protection at the state and federal level. Threatened Everglades Wildlife Needs Our Protection!

American Alligator

In South Florida, the American alligator is well known, but despite celebrity status, few people in the state know that the gator is considered threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Likely to become endangered if we don't act soon, alligators live in fresh water marshes of the Everglades and play an instrumental role in sustaining the ecosystem.

Sea Turtle

One of the oldest creatures on Earth, the sea turtle is a fascinating example of a species found in the Everglades. On the federal endangered list since 1978, turtles depend on the marine and estuarine habitat of the Everglades for survival. Still, egg harvesting along with pollution contribute to declining populations, even as government and community work together to raise awareness.

Birds

The Everglades is home to an amazing collection of over 350 different bird species. Many are threatened and endangered, including the snail kite, wood stork, woodpecker and bald eagle. Water levels rise and fall in conservation areas making it difficult for birds to nest, causing poor reproduction.

Florida Panther

The Everglades is also home to the Florida panther. Again, habitat degradation contributes to declining health and today, there are only 70-100 panthers living in the Everglades, making them one of the most endangered animals in the world.

Let Everglades Wildlife Inspire You: Visiting the Florida Everglades

Years ago, the Everglades ecosystem was a healthy mix of diverse habitats, but population growth, land development and drainage programs negatively impacted the wetlands. Today, there are many reasons for the decline in Everglades wildlife, but there are also informed, motivated people ready to help. Exploring this pristine environment is a unique opportunity to pay tribute and a fun way to expose the kids to conservation and preservation efforts.

To learn more about how you can visit with Everglades wildlife on an exciting airboat tour, please visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com. Home to the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, Everglades Holiday Park is conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale.

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