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Invasive Species

  • As director of new UF/IFAS Invasion Science Research, Dr. Matthew Thomas will bring together more than 120 UF/IFAS scientists dedicated to the control of nonnative and invasive wildlife and plant species.
  • Let’s say that, for fun, you wanted to go into alligator-infested area, hip-deep in water where you can’t see the bottom, standing in mushy marl, in the middle of the night, and try to capture a huge snake that in turn may want to capture you. Then, the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “2022 Florida Python Challenge®” is for you.
  • The largest Burmese python ever discovered in Florida was captured from the Everglades and brought to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for research. The female python, weighing in at 215 pounds and 18 feet long, had 122 eggs inside of her, which is the largest egg count ever recorded for a python.
  • Right now there is a box-shaped, metal thing sliding along the surface of Lake Okeechobee. It’s called a boat, but it resembles an aluminum scooper that doesn’t look like it should float. It moves with paddlewheels and sports a pitchfork. The smelly, messy endeavor is the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s latest stab at ways to rid Lake Okeechobee of the invasive species.
  • Roseate spoonbills and other wading birds are loving Florida Audubon’s efforts to remove invasive Carolina willows that have overtaken vital wet prairies inside the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary east of Naples. “Our marsh and prairie restoration efforts are helping bring birds back to areas within the sanctuary that had been overtaken by Carolina willow,” Lisa Korte, director of the sanctuary, said Friday. “Nature’s response to our restoration process is rapid." Wet prairies are a vital part of the Everglades. The low-depressions fill with moving water, grasses thrive, and critters crawl and swim in the shallow marsh. That, in turn, brings wading birds and other creatures to enjoy the cool water and poke around for a meal." The Carolina willow is among the plants and animals native to Florida that are expanding the definition of “invasive species.”
  • Environmental groups working to restore the Florida Everglades were elated to learn Wednesday that $1.1 billion from the federal infrastructure package has been earmarked to help pay for the massive, multi-decade restoration. The money will be used to hasten the efforts to undo the extensive environmental damage the Everglades suffered in the early 1900s, when the Army Corps built canals, locks and levees in a massive water management and flood control plan before the damaging environmental impacts of such efforts were fully known. Improving water quality and quantity is the Everglades is a top priority.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, and the South Florida Water Management District have announced a new $10,000 Ultimate Grand Prize award, sponsored by Virtual Business Services, for the 2021 Florida Python Challenge. The award will go to this year's Florida Python Challenge participant who removes the most pythons.
  • Florida has a growing invasive species population of a reptile that was formally considered a docile pet and is now prohibited by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  • Florida is the global epicenter for invasive species of reptiles and amphibians. One in particular is especially dangerous to dogs and cats. The cane toad was first brought to Florida by the sugar industry to control the cane beetle. Then the pet industry brought them in. Now, the cane toad is acclimated and threatens pets.
  • The FWC approved draft rules in July that would change the listing for “conditional” species, like Burmese pythons and Nile monitor lizards, to "prohibited."