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Wildlife Conservation

  • For large mammals like the Florida panther and Florida black bear, large tracts of contiguous land are crucial to their ability to live and thrive. To that end, in 2021 the Florida legislature passed — with bipartisan support — the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, and Governor Ron DeSantis signed it into law. The Act outlines about 18-million acres of land in the state that comprise a corridor of sorts stretching from the Everglades to the panhandle that would support animals like the Florida panther. About 10-million of those acres are already preserved, so the goal is to encourage the owners of the remaining 8-million acres to either sell their land to the state or an organization that would protect it, or get a conservation easement that would allow them to continue farming or ranching operations, but ensure the land isn’t developed. We talk with investigative journalist, Jimmy Tobias, to try to understand the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act better.
  • As court battles continue, supporters of Florida keeping permitting authority for projects that affect wetlands are trying a different tack: Put it in federal law.U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., this week added an amendment to a bill to try to codify a 2020 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that shifted permitting authority from the federal government to Florida.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet on Tuesday will consider a $122 million proposal to buy agricultural land in Southwest Florida and allow current owners to lease and manage the property. The purchase, which is tied to a statewide wildlife corridor, is among five proposed conservation deals, at a cost approaching $220 million, that will go before DeSantis and the Cabinet.
  • A state appeals court Friday rejected requests by environmental groups for a rehearing after it ruled last month that a legal battle about conservation funding was “moot.” The 1st District Court of Appeal, as is common, did not explain its decision for denying motions for rehearing. The long-running legal battle stemmed from a 2014 constitutional amendment that required setting aside a portion of real-estate documentary stamp tax revenues in what is known as the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for conservation efforts.
  • Kirsten Hines started out as a wildlife biologist, but pretty early on found herself drawn to telling stories with images and words about the natural world, rather than collecting data about it. Her photographs and writings have since appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications, including eight books — the latest of which is “Wild Florida: An Animal Odyssey.” It’s like a conversational field guide that explores ecological concepts like the “why” behind Florida’s animal diversity, and its blending of critters from the tropics with those from North America.
  • Since passage of the Endangered Species Act 50 years ago, more than 1,700 plants, mammals, fish, insects and other species in the U.S. have been listed as threatened or endangered with extinction. Yet federal government data reveals striking disparities in how much money is allocated to save various biological kingdoms.Of the roughly $1.2 billion a year spent on endangered and threatened species, about half goes toward recovery of just two types of fish: salmon and steelhead trout along the West Coast. Tens of millions of dollars go to other widely known animals including manatees, right whales, grizzly bears and spotted owls.
  • A new year at the nest of M15 and his new mate, F23, brought all manner of conjecture. But all the worry and concern were erased Friday night when an egg was confirmed at the nest.
  • Kirsten Hines started out as a wildlife biologist, but pretty early on found herself drawn to telling stories with images and words about the natural world, rather than collecting data about it. Her photographs and writings have since appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications, including eight books — the latest of which is “Wild Florida: An Animal Odyssey.” It’s like a conversational field guide that explores ecological concepts like the “why” behind Florida’s animal diversity, and its blending of critters from the tropics with those from North America.
  • A species of great ape found in the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia can now be seen at the Naples Zoo. Zookeepers recently welcomed a family of four orangutans as part of the zoo’s conservation and education initiatives.
  • Southwest Florida is so rich in wildlife habitat and has so many threatened and endangered species that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to add the region to the world’s largest network of protected lands. The Southwest Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Area