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“Explore the fascinating world of endangered species in Florida with our comprehensive guide. “

 

Appreciating Florida solely for its beaches and theme parks would be unfair. Indeed, the sunshine has pristine beaches and year-round sunshine, but that is not all. Florida has much more than that.

 

One cannot overlook the incredible wildlife that thrives there. The state is home to many endangered and rare species you cannot find anywhere else. The state is a haven for wildlife, from key deer and Florida panthers to manatees and sea turtles.

A Male Panther / Flickr / FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute

A Male Panther / Flickr / FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute

 

However, cities and recreational areas are growing as more people move to Florida. As a result, this growth has severely impacted the habitats of many native species.

As of July 2016, 124 endangered species were found in Florida. While many are in danger of disappearing, others face threats to survival.

 

Out of these, 64 were animals. This means many plants and animals in Florida are at risk of no longer being around.

 

In this article, we will discover a few rare and endangered species of Florida. We will learn what factors are causing trouble to these rare Florida animals and what can be done to protect them.

 

Let’s get started!

 

Endangered Species in Florida

Endangered Florida Manatees

Endangered Species in Florida/ Flickr / GPA Photo Archive

Florida Manatees / Flickr / GPA Photo Archive

 

Everyone loves to swim with these majestic but innocent animals. Also known as “sea cows,” Florida manatees are among the most endangered species in Florida. These rare animals in Florida are abundant along the coasts.

 

Once, only several hundred individuals were remaining. However, the manatee population has slowly recovered, thanks to Florida fish and wildlife efforts. In 2017, it was delisted from the Endangered Species in Florida list.

 

However, since manatees live underwater, persistent water pollution is still a significant threat. Factories and cities create blue-green algae, which harms seagrass beds, the top food source for manatees.

 

Because of this, more than 1,000 manatees died in 2021. To help them survive, conservationists are hand-feeding starving manatees. In addition, some also demand to protect manatee species as endangered animals.

Threatened Green Sea Turtles

Green Sea Turtle, Endangered Species in Florida/ Flickr / Silke Baron

Green Sea Turtle / Flickr / Silke Baron

 

The green sea turtle is also among the endangered species in Florida. These aquatic animals are at risk of disappearing forever.

 

The Green Turtle faces many challenges both in the water and on land. In water, fishing gear like nets and lines can accidentally trap and kill these species. On land, illegal hunting for their meat and eggs is also a significant risk factor for their survival.

 

Moreover, urban and coastal development harms their nesting sites and limits where they can lay eggs. Artificial lights on buildings confuse baby turtles, leading them away from the ocean.

 

Laws have been made to protect sea turtles from being hunted or harmed. Conservation efforts are also underway to safeguard their habitats and help them thrive. Protecting sea turtle species is essential so they can continue living in Florida’s waters for generations.

At-Risk Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead in Blue Florida Water / Flickr / Matt Kieffer

Loggerhead in Blue Florida Water / Flickr / Matt Kieffer

 

Besides green turtles, loggerhead sea turtles are among the endangered Florida animals.

 

According to statistics, 95% of US loggerhead sea turtles breed in Florida. However, they are more abundant in the South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama coasts.

 

Because of recreational development, especially on beaches, loggerhead sea turtles find it hard to lay eggs. Fishing is another problem, as these species often get caught by accident.

 

Loggerhead has been endangered since 1978. However, efforts to help them have worked. Between 1989 and 1998, their population grew by 24%, and now there are more than 100,000 nests yearly.

Endangered Florida Panther

Florida Panther: Endangered Species in Florida/ Flickr / US Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

Florida Panther / Flickr / US Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

 

Our list of endangered species in Florida also includes the Florida panther. It is one of the threatened and endangered species in the Sunshine State. In 1982, the Florida panther was crowned the state animal.

 

These rare animals in Florida call southern Florida’s Everglades, forests and swamps their home. You can spot them in swamp forests, hardwood hammocks, and pinelands. While male species can go as far as 200 square miles, females can go 75 square miles only.

 

As their primary food source, they hunt small endangered animals, including rabbits, mice, and waterfowl. The Florida panther also dines on larger prey like feral pigs, white-tailed deer, and storks.

 

This animal species became endangered due to a natural predator—the American alligator. Human activity and habitat loss are other factors that contributed to its extinction.

Key Deer: An Endangered Species of Florida

Key Deer: Endangered Species in Florida / Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

Key Deer / Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

 

The Key Deer is a small subspecies of white-tailed deer. It lives in South Florida and is among the endangered Florida animals. Due to habitat loss and illegal hunting, it is almost near extinction.

 

While hunting Key Deer has been prohibited since 1939, these animals still struggle to survive. Significant factors include the fragile ecosystem of the Florida Keys, human development, and poaching.

 

About two-thirds of these threatened species live on Big Pine and No Name Key. However, this species can be found on other keys like Big Pine, Big Torch, Cudjoe, Howe, Little Pine, Little Torch, Middle Torch, and the Lower Keys.

 

Protecting these species and their homes is critical to ensure they stay safe and continue to live in South Florida.

Gopher Tortoises

Baby Gopher Tortoise / Flickr / Matthew Paulson

Baby Gopher Tortoise / Flickr / Matthew Paulson

 

The gopher tortoise is a land reptile that can live in the wild for up to 70 years. It’s called “gopher” because it digs deep burrows, like gophers, to find food and shelter.

 

You can find them all over Florida, living in different places like forests and pastures. They are the only land tortoise in the southeastern.SUS. Like alligators, they are vital as they share their burrows with over 350 other species.

 

However, the gopher tortoise is in trouble. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says it is vulnerable. There used to be many more of them, but now there are only about 700,000 left in the wild.

 

These endangered animals are disappearing because of human development. If things don’t change, they could lose 20% of their homes in the next 40 years. We need to protect these rare animals in Florida so they can keep living in Florida.

Florida Black Bear: An Endangered Icon

Florida Black Bear / Flickr / Florida Fish and Wildlife

Florida Black Bear / Flickr / Florida Fish and Wildlife

 

The black bear is the only bear you will find in Florida. Despite being the sole bear species in the state, it is still in danger.

 

Since the Florida black bear loves to roam freely, it needs acres to live and survive. However, these animals are losing their habitat due to increased human population and state development.

 

According to a survey, only about 3,000 Florida black bears live in eight places around Florida. This makes them one of the most endangered species in Florida.

 

While the Endangered Species Act has been made to protect these bears, they still face troubles. Sometimes, they get hit by cars, while other times, they are attracted by trash and leftover food left by people, which can lead to conflicts with humans.

Everglade Snail Kite

Female Everglade Snail Kite / Flickr / Brian Garrett

Female Everglade Snail Kite / Flickr / Brian Garrett

 

The Everglade snail kite is on our threatened and endangered species list in Florida. These birds need the Everglades National Park to survive. You can spot them in freshwater marshes and wetlands.

 

However, they are in trouble as their homes are disappearing. Factors like drainage, pollution, and invasive species are hurting them.

 

Today, the Everglade snail kite has difficulty finding nesting places and food, especially apple snails.

 

To help them, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service is taking steps to stop habitat destruction. They are restoring wetlands and getting rid of invasive species. It is critical to keep working on the conservation of these unique birds.

Piping Plover

Piping Plover: Endangered Species in Florida / Flickr / Claudia Daggett

Piping Plover / Flickr / Claudia Daggett

 

The piping plover is a unique bird in trouble. The USS Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Federal Endangered Species Act protect it. In the Sunshine State, it is considered endangered, meaning the bird is at risk of extinction.

 

The piping plover faces many dangers. The shrinkage of habitat loss along the coast due to human activity and pollution is a significant risk.

 

In addition, people sometimes accidentally step on their eggs, and predators like foxes see them as their meal. These factors make it hard for piping plovers to survive.

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow / Flickr / David LaPuma

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow / Flickr / David LaPuma

 

The Cape Sable seaside sparrow, nicknamed the “Goldilocks bird,” needs a suitable habitat to survive in Florida. It is adapted to handle fires and floods, but these natural changes must occur at the correct times. Otherwise, they can threaten the bird’s reproduction ability and cause male birds to stop singing.

 

Sadly, changes in water levels have hurt the sparrow’s home in Everglades National Park. Storms like Hurricane Andrew, human activities, and pollution have worsened the situation.

 

Since 1967, the sparrow has been recognized as an endangered bird, and efforts have been made to protect its habitat. However, political interference has reduced protected areas, leaving the sparrow’s survival even more uncertain.

 

Despite challenges, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service is working hard to protect this unique bird species.

Video Credit: Ambient Wild

Wrapping Up: Endangered Species Florida

 

Florida’s wildlife faces many challenges, but there are ways we can help protect them. It is crucial to support conservation efforts and laws that protect habitats. In addition, efforts should be made to stop littering and pollution.

 

Moreover, educating others about preserving wildlife and their habitats has become more vital than ever. By working together and taking action, we can ensure that Florida’s unique and diverse wildlife continues to thrive. So, let’s do our part to protect and preserve endangered species in Florida.

FAQs

Is Red Cockaded Woodpecker among endangered and threatened species in Florida?

The Red Cockaded Woodpecker is among Florida’s endangered and rare animals. It has been protected as endangered by the government’s federally listed species since 1970. Florida is home to about 25% of the nation’s Red Cockaded Woodpecker population. The state hosts around 1,100 active family groups.

What does Florida's Wildlife Conservation Commission do to protect Wood Stork?

The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission is doing many things to the wood stork. They monitor its population, habitat, and nesting areas. In addition, they also work to conserve wetlands, which are vital for the stork’s survival.

How does the Fish and Wildlife Service help fish and wildlife?

The Fish and Wildlife Service protects fish and wildlife. They enforce rules to keep them safe. Their teams work to maintain healthy populations. They also educate people about caring for animals and habitats.

What species of sea turtle are in Florida?

Sea turtle species you can see in Florida include:

  • Ridley Sea Turtle
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle

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