Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Originally published 10:50 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2009
Updated 10:50 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2009
An endangered Florida panther was killed by a vehicle late Wednesday night near Southwest Florida International Airport, according to a report this morning from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A Florida Gulf Coast University student discovered and reported the panther about 10:20 p.m. halfway between Terminal Access Road, the new entrance road to the airport, and Daniels Parkway, the Conservation Commission reports. Time of death was shortly before that, according to the report.
The panther, which did not have a radio tracking collar, was a male, about 1 1/2 years old. It did not have a transponder chip, cowlick or kinked tail, but it did have two descended testicles.
The carcass was placed in the freezer at the Naples office of the Conservation Commission and a necropsy will be performed at a later date. The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Wednesday's incident marks the fourth panther to be killed on Southwest Florida roads so far this year. A fifth panther was killed by another panther at the Seminole Indian reservation in February.(read more)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
BY WHITNEY SESSA
It seems even Mother Nature is going through a recession.
After three years of enjoying increases in the wading bird population, the number is down in Everglades National Park.
From 2007 to 2008, the park's total wading bird population dropped by 29 percent, with seven of the nine species showing a decrease in numbers, according to an annual report issued by the South Florida Water Management District.
There is still an abundance of the birds that draw tourists and locals alike at the national park. But this marks the first season of an actual decline in numbers since 2005.
The years of increasing numbers of wading birds was halted by last year's drought, researchers said.
''Last year was pretty poor,'' said Mark Cook, the district environmental scientist who co-edited the annual report. ``We weren't really surprised, because you expect fluctuations of rainfalls and these kinds of issues. The birds fluctuate quite wildly naturally.''
Great white herons, small dark herons, great egrets, white ibis, wood storks, small white herons and glossy ibis all saw a decrease in population for 2008.
Great white herons experienced the largest reduction at 51 percent.
Only two species -- the roseate spoonbill and great blue herons -- jumped in numbers.
The wading bird population, surveyed annually in the park, allows researchers to help judge the park's overall health.
''Wading birds respond to what they find in the environment,'' said Sonny Bass, a coauthor of the report. ``They're a good indicator of the health of the system.''(read more)
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
Gumbo Limbo, Everglades National Park
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Everglades National Park
Date: March 11, 2009
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Susan Reece, 239-695-3311
Everglades City, Florida: Join a park ranger guided tour of the striking Turner River Complex Saturday March 28, 2009. This special program is being offered only one weekend during 2009 to celebrate Florida Archaeology Month and will depart from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City.
The Turner River Complex is a prehistoric shell works site located in the 10,000 Island Area of Everglades National Park. Located directly northeast of Chokoloskee Island, one-half mile from the mouth of the Turner River, the Turner River complex cover 30 acres and extend for a quarter-mile along the river. Smithsonian Anthropologist Ales Hrdlička, who visited the site in 1922, considered the Turner River Mounds to be “the most noteworthy group of shell heaps and mounds in the entire region” In 1955, William H. Sears, of the Florida State Museum, secured permission from the owners of the property (Ted Smallwood’s family) to conduct excavations at the site. Sears’ work at the Turner River Shell Works Complex provided the first contour mapping of a mound complex in south Florida and was the first professional archeological excavation within the Ten Thousand Islands.
Motorized boat tours will leave at 1:00, 1:30, 3:00 & 3:30 pm and will make a thirty minute stop at the site. Visitors should arrive at least 15 minutes before hand. The tours cost $35 per adult (regular boat tour price). Space is limited to six persons per trip. In addition to the motorized tour, there will also be a ranger-led canoe to the mounds. People can either bring their own canoe/kayak or rent a canoe. Canoe rental is $26.50 (includes tax). Canoes can hold 2 or 3 people. Singles can pay for 1/2 of a canoe.
On Sunday, March 29, there will be a special boat tour that includes a stop and short walk on Sandfly Island, another important prehistoric mound site. This will be the 2:30 boat tour. This trip will accommodate 46 people. The tour costs $26.50 (regular boat tour price).
All tours will depart from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Space is limited, so reservations are required for all trips. For more information or reservations call the Gulf Coast Visitor Center at 239-695-3311. The Gulf Coast Visitor Center is located 5 miles south of Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) on State Road 29, in Everglades City. From Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley), take exit 80 (State Road 29) south and proceed 20 miles to Everglades City. Once in Everglades City, follow the signs to the park. The visitor center is on the right.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE
Significant Wildlife Die-Off Under Investigation
Roy McBride, a member of the interagency panther capture crew, came upon a dead black vulture along Turner River Road on the morning of March 16th, then spotted several more dead vultures on Fire Prairie Trail. McBride notified chief ranger Ed Clark, who in turn notified dispatch and asked for rangers and resource managers to respond. Ranger Mary Jo Shreffler and resource management staff subsequently located 32 dead or dying black vultures and three opossums. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was advised and one of their officers responded. Park resource management employees Annette Johnson and Steve Schulze, outfitted with personal protective suits, collected the specimens while hydrologist Paul Murphy collected water samples from nearby water sources to test for contamination. The dead animals are being sent to various labs for testing. A US Fish and Wildlife Service special agent visited the park the next day; while he was on-site, two more black vultures were found. The investigation continues.
Name: Gary Shreffler, Park Ranger
Friday, March 20, 2009
Birds are a priceless part of America’s heritage. They are beautiful, they are economically important—and they reflect the health of our environment. This State of the Birds report reveals troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. At the same time, we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds. This report calls attention to the collective efforts needed to protect nature’s resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.(read more) and (watch video)
United States of America
(full report pdf)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By ERIC STAATS (Contact)
Originally published 2:19 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Updated 6:26 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2009
NAPLES — It was about lunch time, and the three men had been traipsing through the swamp at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park for a couple hours.
They did not know they were about to step into the botanical history books with the rediscovery of a lost orchid species.
But there it was last Saturday, Cyclopogon elatus, a flowering spike shooting up from a rotting log.
“It’s a pretty big find,” Fakahatchee Strand park biologist Mike Owen said Tuesday afternoon.(read more)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tree Snails, Gems of the Everglades by Treat Davidson
Liguus Discussion Board
Liguus Fasciatus in Florida
Florida Liguus (Tree Snail) 2008
Long Pine Key, Everglades National Park
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
American alligators are listed as threatened by the federal government because they are similar in appearance to American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus). American crocodiles are endangered and the government does not want hunters to confuse the two species. Hunting is allowed in some states, but is is heavily controlled.(read more)
Pajerski, L., B. Schechter and R. Street. 2000. "Alligator mississippiensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 15, 2009 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Alligator_mississippiensis.html.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
A small, stocky wading bird, the Green Heron is common in wet spots across much of North America. It can be difficult to see as it stands motionless waiting for small fish to approach within striking range, but it frequently announces its presence by its loud squawking.(read more)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Stands still next to water and grabs small fish with explosive dart of head and neck. One of the few birds that uses bait to attract fish, it drops such things as bread crusts, insects, and twigs onto the water. (read more)