In an effort to save Florida’s endangered species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is unveiling a new project that could protect many animals that currently inhabit more than five million acres of land throughout the state. This is just one of several projects funded by a new regional conservation partnership program available through the USDA’s natural resources conservation service. Everyone at Wild Florida is happy that our endangered species will be getting extra protection. Now who is getting this extra protection:
The Gopher Tortoise
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is working to protect the Gopher Tortoise, the Florida Panther, and the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow with this initiative. The Gopher Tortoise occupies upland habitat throughout the State of Florida and can often be found roaming in forests, pastures and even yards. The tortoise digs deep burrows underground and shares these borrows with hundreds of other species. Gopher sightings are very common in our Wild Florida park and airboat tours.
The Florida Panther
The Florida panther is classified as an umbrella species and can be found in nearly 1 million hectares of land in southwest Florida, according to the Florida PantherNet website. The Florida panther is the official state animal of Florida and has been an endangered species since 1967. Panthers tend to live in undeveloped and remote areas so human encounters with panthers are very rare. Any panther sightings can be reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission panther sightings page.
The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
According to the National Audubon Society, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow is a highly endangered species because it is so dependent on Florida dry prairie habitat. The sparrow does not migrate and very few people have actually seen or heard of it. The bird population continues to decline because these birds need native prairie in its prime condition where there is no brush or trees.
About the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has allocated more than $370 million towards 115 projects across all 50 states, including the State of Florida. In Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is receiving $2 million to lead the Regional Partnership for Conservation of Gopher Tortoise and At-Risk Species Habitat. More information about this program can be found here or come to Wild Florida. We would be happy to talk about our precious wildlife and what else can be done to protect them and then take an airboat tour to see our great land.