The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has reported 146 endangered, threatened, and special concern species statewide. This total includes birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles. Some of these imperiled species historically had a large range; others are endemic or found in a very localized area.
While natural diseases can affect wildlife populations, much of the rapid decline in health and numbers has been due to human impact, including:
Audubon of Florida and the South Florida Audubon Society are seeking to help protect birds and other wildlife through advocacy and community education. With your help, we can reverse the plight of at-risk species and give them the same opportunity for recovery as that of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, which was removed recently from the list of threatened and endangered species.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Volunteer -- Give back to your community with a few hours of volunteer work doing invasive species removal, cleanups, trail maintenance and other projects to conserve and protect wildlife habitat.
Create a backyard habitat -- Remove non-native species from your landscape and replace them with native plantings. The shelter and food source will provide rest and nourishment to resident and migratory wildlife, and create pockets of suitable habitat. Convince other homeowners and/or your Homeowners Association to implement native landscape projects. You will help create large-scale habitats, one neighbor at a time.
Vote with your wallet -- When traveling to nature-based destinations for birding and outdoor recreation, tell local businesses why you are there. Tell hotels and restaurants that local nature destinations are the reason for your business. Use birder calling cards to promote the economic benefit of healthy habitats.
Keep cats indoors -- There may be more than 5 million cats in Florida, many of which spend at least part of their time outdoors. Introduced to North America in the 19th century, cats are instinctive hunters and will attack birds and other wildlife even when not hungry. Controlling cat populations and keeping them indoors reduces unnecessary kills and helps wildlife populations to thrive.
Avoid feeding wildlife -- Feeding of wildlife accustoms them to humans and leads to death when bears, alligators, and other species in search of new habitats invade human developments. Keep critters away from trash cans by using rubber straps on lids.
Learn about wildlife habitat protection -- Attend Audubon meetings and read articles and the recent report: Florida 2060: A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida. This publication predicts loss of 7 million acres of land due to development if continued at the current pace. Read about Seagrass and its importance to the Manatees.
Make your voice heard -- Wildlife species protection requires us to preserve the things that humans also require: Clean air and water, open space, and healthy ecosystems. Use your vote and your voice to alert public officials to the importance of land management, water conservation, and other critical environmental issues.
November 12, 2016
Quiet Waters Park
South Florida Audubon Society
PO Box 9644
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33310
954 776 5585
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