By Everglades NPS from Homestead, Florida, United States (Florida Panther (1), NPSPhoto, Rodney Cammauf) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There are 145 animal species on Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species List. If that number doesn’t bother you, it should. That’s 145 species that are in trouble just here in Florida. 145 entire species that could become extinct in the not-so-distant future. Some are well known and have great support groups, like manatees and panthers…but most are unknown and have no organized support group.
In my humble opinion, each species has as much right to exist as the next. Granted, Save the Florida Bog Frog doesn’t have the same appeal as Save the Manatee, but the Bog Frog’s plight deserves to be known all the same. And if we humans can help, I think we’d be wise to do so.
Don’t worry — I won’t ask you to donate to any causes. I simply want to share a glimpse into each species’ story…two or three at a time, in a series of articles. Some will certainly surprise you, others will have you scratching your head, like the Fuzzy Pigtoe. Seriously. It’s a Federally Threatened mollusk. Maybe you’ll be inspired to start a Save the Fuzzy Pigtoe campaign. It could happen.
Even if you’re not that moved, you should be aware of what’s happening to our environment. Look for patterns in the reasons why each of these species is on the list. It’s very telling. So let’s jump right in:
Florida Bog Frog; Amphibian; Lithobates okaloosae: Listed as a State Species of Special Concern, the Florida Bog Frog is endemic (Found only in Florida)…in fact, it’s only found in 2 counties in the Florida panhandle — Okaloosa and Santa Rosa. The official cause of concern is listed as degradation of habitat. This degradation stems from many sources, chief among them fire suppression and invasive plant species.
Atlantic Sturgeon; Fish; Acipenser oxyrinchus: Listed as Federally Endangered, this fish has suffered a double whammy — Rampant overharvest and dammed rivers that block historic spawning grounds. This is a perfect example of why it pays to know what you’re eating. Websites like Seafood Watch, NRDC, and WWF Panda make it easy.
Learn much more from MyFWC.
Photo: Hugh McCormick Smith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons